Friday, October 30, 2009

This is a video of the state song. I liked it so I decided to put it on my blog. Love, Ella

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As many of you know, we have a lot of books in this house. Occasionally, I sort through some of the older ones to make room for newer finds. I do this by perusing several pages and seeing if what's inside still strikes our fancy. Tonight I opened up a questionable book and read two fascinating facts.
One: aspirin is made from coal.
a quick google search yielded this information:

In the recovery method process, the smoky emissions from the coke ovens are distilled and condensed. Aspirin, believe it or not, is made from this process. The Bayer Company (Germany) began making fabric dyes from coal tar and later discovered that they could make aspirin from the same process. Aspirin is the tradename that Bayer registered for acetylsalicylic acid, the actual miracle chemical that cures our aches and pains

Two: The Ten Commandments were supposedly written on Sapphire

Perhaps I should have know this second one. Did you?
And yes, the book is back on the shelf.
A couple of quotes from today...

Gabriel walking after dinner:
"Wook! When I am walking the moon goes, when I stop it don't!"

And Ella reading a book about Marie Curie in bed:
"One thing about this book! It just gives you the giggles!"
Today we made our traditional Halloween doughnuts. They can't be beat hot out of the oil and coated in cinnamon and sugar. The perfect treat to go with apple cider and pumpkin carving to make for a happy fall day.

can you guess who carved which pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two doors down from us, in our neighbor's yard, is a beautiful golden chestnut tree, complete with a rope swing that sails you out over the hillside. We spent the morning collecting chestnuts (Joshua had the idea of using tongs) and soaring on the rope swing. Ella brought along a clipboard and made a few sketches of the spiny shelled nuts. We're hoping to get at least a few nuts to taste, although all of the ones we've opened so far have been shriveled inside. Apparently that happens some years, according to a man that passed by while we were collecting. He also told us that there is a worm inside each nut, and to either roast them or freeze them as soon as you pick them or the worm will get all the tasty meat before you do!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our friends in Goshen invited us out to their farm for a cider pressing party on Sunday. We took two bushels of apples and some jugs and came home with 5 1/2 gallons of sweet, fresh cider and our bellies filled with homemade chili. A highlight was the "wild pear hunt". I've never known pear trees to grow as tall as oaks, but these were nearly as high. One of the guys climbed almost to the top and shook with all his might sending down a raining clatter of rock hard ping pong ball sized fruit. You really had to run and duck for cover. We all helped pick up the pears from the ground and took them back to be pressed into pear cider. The roaring sound of the press being cranked on the wooden floor of their outbuilding was tremendous.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I spent a good part of the evening trying to figure out how to embed this into the blog, but how easy! Expect many more to follow as we are avid YouTube fans.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We thought this gourd looked just like a goose flapping its wings. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday was such a perfect fall day that we went up to Indian Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway (mp 47.5). We walked up the short trail to some amazing rock formations. Full of caves and crevices, high points and overhangs just right for playing Indians or trolls. The little ones each picked out their own "houses" on the rock, complete with bedrooms, kitchens and lookouts. It reminded me of what I used to do when I was little and we went to the greenstone overlook. They collected sticks and rocks and spiky pine cones while I dug out some sassafras roots to simmer at home. Now our home is smelling of the spicy scent of fall. I might just risk a cup of tea.
Jack Frost came for his first visit of the season Sunday night. Our geraniums and avocado trees are happily tucked away inside. I'm mourning the loss of our heavenly blue morning glories most of all. However, we have saved lots of the seeds and will replant come Spring.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This morning there was a small slit in the eastern sky, where just briefly I got a peek at the sun. The first and only in almost a week. We've been keeping busy nonetheless; lots of legoing, lots of reading with hot chocolate, a few crafty projects and the usual dose of silliness. We fixed up our winter bird feeding station and our feathered friends found it immediately. I think they have been waiting. Bolder than ever too; one titmouse perched right on the feeder as I was filling it.

In the afternoon we went over to the Stonewall Jackson House for their apple day. The kids had a chance to make potato scarecrows, applesauce, and corn husk dolls as well as rope a bed, press cider, and try to grab an apple dangling from a tree with their teeth. There was good bluegrass music (Ella danced on a hay bale stage) and cider and ginger snaps to boot!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ella is always bubbling and over with excitement and talking a mile a minute when I come to pick her up after choir practice. Generally I get tidbits of information about what what songs they will be singing, when their next performance is, scheduling changes etc. Yesterday, she came bursting forth from church in a flurry over the new music for the Christmas cantata, something about singing on Thanksgiving, and "Guess what Mommy? The Bishop is coming to hear us sing! I mean, actually, I think it's the POPE!"

God bless her enthusiasm! And yes, why wouldn't the Pope come to hear the newest choir member at St. Patrick's?

Meanwhile, dear Gabey bear has been hanging in with us all, going napless until about 5:00 when he crashes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

this is me after the horse and carriage ride.

this is us on gabriels birthday on the carriage ride through lexington.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Miracles of Nature

A dew dropped spider's web

Shells we found by the Maury River

And this spectacular treasure that Joshua found on a walk with Tucker. An insect eaten Chinese lantern with the seed still enclosed in the fragile shell.

I am not including the photograph of the neon orange caterpillar that Joshua found on this same walk, as I do not want to lose our new readership. It was an amazing specimen and I immediately gave it a home on a twig in our living room. Imagine our horror when we awoke the next morning to find it covered in wriggling white parasites! Alas, I did not take a picture of it before the infestation, only after. It is rather repulsive. Ella would not approve of it on her blog.

This is me and my pumpkin when I had just picked it out.

This is me right before my first choir performance. Church seemed to go fast that day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ella has really been wanting her own blog. I have resisted. And here I am at 10:30, long after she has gone to sleep (actually not too long, who am I kidding?), getting her started. I thought I would work out any early kinks that might present themselves and that way she could get right to posting. Mainly she said she needs a place to market her beads.

Today Ella set up a stand to sell some of her sculpey beads she made. Our neighbors generously purchased several and she even has orders for three bracelets. However she still has a whole mason jar full of beads. Of course she only sells some of them, not the ones she really likes. Anyhow the beads have brought us to blogland. Ella has come up with the idea and the title, and has warmly invited me to join.

I have a feeling that this might be more fun that I thought. It probably won't be long until she's telling me to go get my own blog.