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I finally got hold of the camera, took some pictures, and then let Deladis take some on her own.  I’m going to share our last few weeks with you mostly in pictures.

Easter, Redbuds, and Dogwoods – The Tale not Found in the Bible

Today is Good Friday for Christian believers and others who are inspired by the life of Jesus the Christ.

“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said.  “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered. “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.  Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” – John 19:10-11

Jesus accepted what was for what it was.  He lived the Now and He realized the essence of His being protected by Father God.  My maternal grandmother taught me that the redbud and dogwood trees represent some significant things in this story.  They grow wild in these hills.  Many plant them in their yard.

The redbud was once a large tree with large white blossoms.  Judas Iscariot, after betraying Jesus, hung himself on one of these large trees.  It shriveled up and the blossoms turned pink with their shame.

The dogwood represents the events of The Holy Week.  You can read more about how by clicking these statements.Spring has gotten into my being more this year than ever in my life.  I have never been fond of rainy up and down weather, but this year the beauty of creation has been recognized as a gift in the core of who I am.  The most beautiful part of the redbud and dogwood story is that they bloom around the same time, the redbud a bit ahead of the dogwood.

Deladis Won a Blue Ribbon at the Homeschool Science Fair for her Tree Project!

She worked so so hard!  I can’t believe this is a kindergartener’s work!

It’s Electric – Boogie-Woogie-Woogie

The Chickens – Photos by Deladis Rose – Titles by Mommy

Where's the Beef

The Peach

The Ladies

Cockfight

Family Man

We're Havin' a Party

I'd Eat One if I Could Fit it in My Mouth

And Finally – The Mole Killer – Not for the Squeamish – Photo by Deladis Rose



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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

The weather has given us a break, and the girls and I took a hike this past Saturday.  It was lovely.  We got home and both the girls fell asleep by 6:30 and didn’t wake up again until the next morning!

Start with a nice blue sky.

Add a warm hilltop breeze

Two lovely little girls

 

A release of penned up energy waiting all winter long

And a few soft smiles

One portly little cat who follows along behind like a dog

Neglected hunting cabin

 

That had to have once been loved

A few open old deep mines

 

An old logging road

Big old maple leaves

A couple of rolled over rocks

Blow one last kiss to the sun

First, you start with real good garden soil, a set of plant starts, and eventually you will have a gorgeousness that looks like this.

 

When the first pea pods appear, they will be tender enough to put in the skillet without steaming first.  If you like peas in the pod, you’ll leave them on longer, but to make this dish, you’ll need to string them, and/or steam them for tenderness.

Make some bacon.  A whole pack is nice because you can eat while you cook.  I prefer to buy bacon free of nitrates or nitrites and sugar when I can find it.  Sautee some onions in bacon grease until they start to brown.

Then, add the washed pods and peas.

Cook them over medium to high heat until they are fully greased and tender.  The amount of grease you use depends on your tastes.  I use the whole pan from making the pack of bacon.  When tender, crumble in some bacon and serve.

 

You’ll notice that this dish is similar to the Appalachian green beans and kilt lettuce and onions.  Pork was a mainstay of the Appalachian diet, and used to flavor many dishes from cornbread, beans, to greens.  Because chickens provided eggs and cows provided milk, they were not butchered as regularly as hogs.  When not eating pork, or chicken for Sunday dinner, Appalachian peoples ate the meat of hunted animals including, rabbit, deer, squirrel, wild turkey, opossum (some folks didn’t care for it), and groundhog (has a reputation for being greasy).  In our family we eat rabbit, deer, and wild turkey, as well as fish caught from our lakes and streams.  I prepare a traditional foods diet for my family most days.  I have found that if we eat foods that we are genetically predisposed to tolerate, then we have better outcomes physically.  My family has lived in the mountains for generations.  My ancestors were Irish and Cherokee primarily.  My husband’s were Melungeon.  By keeping the traditional Cherokee and Appalachian food ways we were familiar with, and researching those that had been lost to industrialization we have found healthy eating.  Being involved in where your food comes from both animal and plant forms, is extremely rewarding.

This is a video that made me so happy to see.  Leave it to Sesame Street to help us all have a positive, pure respresentation in the media of this world.  This clip is of a mailman who delivered mail in our area (not too far from where we live, in the same county) in the 60s/70s.  Roads like we have today are relatively new here.  Most of our parents and grandparents grew up kind of like our girls are growing up on our holler.  No “true” road, or a creekbed for a road.  Because of this, horse was still the most convenient means of gettting from here to there.  In the county where we live, many women were still having their babes at home, doing the doctoring for their families, organizing church meetings, and teaching the children the 3Rs at this time.  It has not been that long ago that many of us lived in intentional communities where most of our needs could be met within a few miles from home.  This was out of necessity, but something that, if you were to talk to the elders in our hills, was a thing of pride.  I think our future will look similar.  Our economy will eventually return to our own two hands, and be ours to create.  The truth is that Appalachia is not urban, and cannot be made urban, and any effort to do so will only continue to bring ruin to our people.  OK, off my soapbox.  I hope you enjoy the video.

The contrast of snow and sky begs us outside.  Shelter ourselves no more and enjoy the Creator’s warmth in a world chilly with Winter’s finality and promise of renewal.

The Lynn Tree and Rock

We suit up.  How many more Winters will be spent in the midst of such glorious cuteness?

Icicle swords and dusts of snow.

It is impossible to reconcile the sky and earth.  Let them exist one for the other

The Confluence

Snow angels play for snow angels to create.

A groundhog sees its shadow.

Happy Groundhog Day / Candlemas

And mother always waits too long to start the walk home.

But a treat can be made that only Winter allows.

Come by tomorrow for the recipe for a favorite Winter mountain treat!

We were blessed with a sunny day and warm enough weather to get outside and enjoy it.  Enjoy it we did!

We walked down to the barn, fed the chickens, and walked back to home.  As soon as we made it to the yard, Deladis said, “We can swing!”

Then, we walked on up the holler passed our house to my favorite spot in the little valley.

After seeing the emptiness of this valley thanks to Google Earth, I plan to thoroughly explore it with the girls.

Deladis is learning about the root and seed children that spend their time sleeping snug inside Mother Earth through the Winter.  We couldn’t help but notice many of the mosses and lichens have awesome blooms of red and yellow, or simply the brightest green.

Even our animal friends got in on the warmth.

Our dog, Lars, is a bird whisperer.  Have I mentioned they will lie next to him?

Lately, Deladis has been really in to AbbeyRoad by The Beatles.  John has our CDs with him most of the time, so we listen to the record collection.  John’s dad gave us his records and Abbey Road was one of them.  Deladis has Brer Rabbit, Fat Albert, and Chipmunk Punk, but Abbey Road trumps those every time.  Deladis’ favorites are “Come Together,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something,” and “Her Majesty”(the one about Madge being a really fine girl – I think that is the title).  I won’t forget the day she told me she liked “Something”.  She asked me what kind of song that was and what was it about.  George Harrison moved my four year old.  She’s a thinking girl.

We sang sunshine songs as we walked.  “Here Comes the Sun” was included of course as it is on most days of  our singing.  As well as “The Sun Shines on Everyone” by Snatam Kaur, and “You Are My Sunshine”, which Ivy has learned to sing really well thanks to her new auntie.  🙂

It was a fine and refreshing time.

I want to begin by apologizing for not quite keeping up here with the comments and posting these last few months.  I want everyone to know I read every comment and respond in my mind (Hopefully, I will be able to do better about posting those thoughts as we get back into a healthy post holiday rhythm).  I very much value the interaction on this blog and the others I read.  It’s nice to have online community.

So, we just got back from Cincinnati visiting some family there.  We went to the zoo’s Festival of Lights and saw an amazing light display, some neat animals (an eastern screech owl up close and personal, shown by a delightful caregiver, and some spectacular insects), and an outdoor show by the Madcap Puppet Theater in about 10 degree weather. 🙂  It was their Christmas present for the girls, and I am so grateful for it.  Both Deladis and Ivy were in high hog heaven. 🙂

But… the highlight of the trip for my personal self was a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some hard to find grocery items.  I had read various women sing the praises of Trader Joe’s on internet forums, and I had never experienced for myself.  I have fallen in love, and I want to know how you can get a store like that to come to a rural place like this.  The first surprise was the size.  It was a tiny, quaint store.  I didn’t know what to expect, and while I didn’t see shelves and coolers filled with a crazy variety of food like you would at a Whole Foods store, I saw just enough.  It was almost perfect – almost.  The prices were the kicker for me.  I found Trader Joe’s bacon that was nitrate/nitrite/MSG free for $3.99.  I bought 4 packs.  Here you pay $4.99.  Frozen blueberries for $2.99 (12 oz.).  Gluten Free Mac-Cheese for $0.99 a box!  I found whole milk yogurt with a higher fat content than Yo’ Baby, and when you have a picky toddler who loves yogurt that is a blessing.  Ivy needs all the fat she can get.  It was wonderful.  I bought four large canvas bags full to the top of good food for $137.00  I can’t believe how excited I get over food.  I want a Trader Joe’s in the mountains.  I pay twice the price for some of the things I bought today on a regular basis.  I think that once local people saw the food was affordable, they’d be happy to shop there.

Yee-haw!!!

2010 is a good year.  Heck, every year is a good year.  We are blessed with life!  I have been inspired in these last weeks, and I know without a doubt that I am being led, and I am taken care of.  It’s nice to be assured of that.  It’s freedom.  It makes you want to do something about it.  Over on a blog I found a few months ago a challenge is being held – Hip Mountain Mama (One Small Change) .  She is encouraging people to make small changes in our living to create sustainability and positively influence our impact on the environment.  John and I try to work on this every day.  It is of a great deal of importance to us as energy issues impact our everyday life with the coal industry being a crucial part of the economy of the mountains and living with the impact that has on our surroundings.  We know that this isn’t a stable energy source, and it won’t be possible to fuel our local economy off of it forever, and John and I both believe we mountain folk need to start making those changes now and learn what we can do to sustain ourselves here.  However, we know that coal provides about 80% of the nation’s electricity, so it is up to all of us to begin that change.

I probably won’t be able to keep up with the blog deadlines she has set, but I’m going to participate in my own way.

Here is what I want to change:

1.  There is no recycling center in our county.  The closest is about 30 miles away.  Because of this we have stopped recycling.  (And John watched a Penn and Teller BS episode and feels it might not be so bad. I don’t know.  I’d have to revisit that episode myself.)  So, in lieu of that, I’d like to reduce our waste.  We have it down to about 1 garbage bag a week.  The next change I think I will make it making some napkins to use in place of paper towels for eating and some mess clean up.  I have some old sheets that would work perfect for that.

2.  I’m going to make it a point not to buy bottled water when I am out and about.  I plan to purchase a stainless steel water bottle and fill that to carry around.  We use water we collect from the watering hole for consumption and cooking at home.  Carrying that with us won’t be hard.  Plus, after hearing about the movie Tapped, I am motivated.  It is hard to think about when the local water supply can hardly be trusted because of recent petroleum spills and other such industrial pollutants.  Praise God for our watering hole.

I challenge everyone to make one small change.  Something you can feel good about.

Ivy has been sick since Thursday night.  Fever and coughing.  I’m reluctant to call it the flu as no one else in our house has had those symptoms, but Ivy has been real poorly.  After sleepless nights keeping a check on the fever, it was amazing to wake up Saturday morning to see the ground covered in snow and huge chunky flakes falling from  the sky.  Both of the girls stood at our picture window mesmerized for the longest time.

Because Ivy is so sick, and we didn’t receive the best gravel job on the new road from the gas company, we decided it would be best to stay at my mother’s in case we needed to take Ivy to the ER.

The willow in Mom's yard and Lydia's (my step-dad's dog) doghouse. She's in there full of pups. Due Christmas Eve.

The wettness left from the rain we’ve had this last week caused the snow to lay in blankets over everything.  It was so beautiful.  I haven’t been able to shake my melancholy since my last post, and just seeing it filled me with a white peace for awhile.  There isn’t anything much more gorgeous than seeing a crown swooping from a white branch onto a ground covered in snow.

Maple in Mom's yard, planted when I was 12 or 13.  Just a stick then.

These hills are home in every season.  Home because they are real.  Life here is real.  It is these solitary moments – the in breath – that takes me through my days lately.

I want to thank all of you who left a comment of well wishes on my last post.  I appreciate it.  If you don’t mind, please pray for or send healing thoughts to my Ivy.  She’s so puny.  I will rise up… one day, I will.

Such is the way of the world

You can never know

Just where to put all your faith

And how will it grow?

Gonna rise up

Burning black holes in dark memories

Gonna rise up

Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time

Too fast to fold

Suddenly swallowed by signs

Lo and behold

Gonna rise up

Find my direction magnetically

Gonna rise up

Throw down my ace in the hole

-Eddie Veddar, “Rise” music from the motion picture Into the Wild

The girls and I bailed out of the cabin on Friday and went to my in-laws for the rest of the weekend.  I had made an attempt to clean some of the mold from the walls and floors, which taught me that this mold likes to give you an itchy sore throat.  With both of the girls sick with what seems like a sore throat/cold thing, I felt it best to get out of the cabin for a few days and search out a dehumidifier.

For the girls, their grandparents’ house is like going into a dream filled wonderland.  They are showered with attention, given too many sweets, allowed to watch TV on demand, and catered to in most every way.  Both of them absolutely love to go and be with their grandparents, and I love that I get to watch them develop the same type of relationship that I had with my grandparents and great-grandparents.  I also love the bit of letting go that I get.  Nothing pressing down on me insisting to be done.  I get to watch the History Channel too, which is always a luxury to me since we don’t have cable.

Halloween night came with a 90% chance of rain, and that it did.  The in-laws went to their church to do Trunk or Treat, and I was left to get the girls ready and walk them around the holler and on up to the church later on.  Deladis had gotten better in the day that we had been there, but Ivy was still sick.  I worried whether or not either of them were fit to go, especially since Deladis passed out on the couch about 45 minutes before time to start getting ready.  I couldn’t stand the thought of missing Halloween, so I woke Deladis and got both the girls ready despite the tears from a tired Deladis who was also very certain that she did want to go.

Taking their picture together before leaving the house was impossible.

tooz

Here you have Dorothy Gale from Kansas and a sick little flower munchkin from Oz.  After a few attempts to take a good picture and this being the best of the three, we set out to see the Wizard.

We went to a few houses before heading up to the church.  The rain drizzled on us, then sprinkled chubby little droplets, and I tried to make it quick.  There is a sub-division (of the mountain variety) in the holler.  It consists of about 15 upscale houses on both sides of the street.  They were obviously in competition with each other on the treat giving.  Whole chocolate bars, candy apples, and Capri Sun juice pouches soon filled our treat bag!  Deladis said when handed a Mr. Goodbar, “This is the best treat I’ve never had!”  Ivy waved hi and good-bye to everyone from my arms.  She didn’t feel up to walking, but she is always the people person.  The girls received many compliments on their costumes.  One woman even thought I had made them.  I wish I could, though I’m not as cool as Breedermama, I do take costuming very seriously.

munchkin

Poor Snotty Nosed Munchkin

At the church, we went around to 17 cars with decorated trunks and costumed treat givers.  The church grilled hot dogs and gave out hot chocolate, chips,  and deserts.  Deladis ate like there was no tomorrow after almost fasting for the few days before.  I took the girls inside the church to eat, and Ivy took off her hat, relieved.  After eating, Deladis said she was ready to go home (the grandparents’ place).

Dorothy

So pleased to be called beautiful!

Today, I clicked my heals three times and we were back in Kansas.  I wish it were that easy.  I unloaded and reloaded the truck with our things and the new dehumdifier, drove a fair piece, and walked a bit in the dark to get back to the cabin.  The one thing that I love so very much is that though Oz is such a nice place to be that there is no place like home.  The girls even think so too, and that makes me feel like I’m doing a good job. 🙂

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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.

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