Visiting Washington D.C.

In November, we traveled to Pennsylvania to attend some training for our ministry work.  On the way home, we took some vacation time in our nation’s capital.  It had been about seventeen years since my husband and I had visited, and our children had never been there.  The weekend was chilly but fair.  We arrived on the afternoon of November 11 and spent quite a bit of time driving around looking for parking.  Once we finally found a parking spot, we began walking toward the Lincoln Memorial.  There were quite a few people milling around the memorial.


From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we had a beautiful view of the Mall with the Washington Monument in the background.  While the monument looks close, the perspective is deceiving.  That afternoon, we figure we walked over five miles from our parking spot, around several of the memorials, to the Washington Monument, then toured the Air and Space Museum, and back to our vehicle.


On our journey, we stopped at the Washington Monument which is difficult to photograph because of its towering height.  A point of interest is the varying shades of the stone which is due to the start and stop of construction and to rock coming from two different quarries.


Eventually, we wound up at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  My husband and I noticed that since our last time in Washington, the security is greatly increased.  To get into any of the museums, you must empty all your pockets, put any belongings on the belt, and go through a scanner.  Before we entered the building, our oldest noticed that there was a sign stating items that were forbidden including knives.  Being a country boy, he had his knife attached to his belt.  My husband decided they should hide the knife in a flower bed.  Of course, going through security, he managed to set off the alarm.  We were not sure if it was his cowboy belt buckle or his cowboy hat.  By Monday, I suggested he leave all his “paraphernalia” at the motel, and he sailed smoothly through security that day.

Sunday afternoon, we wondered around the outside of the White House and toured the Visitor’s Center.  When we first walked up to the grounds, I was surprised how small the President’s home is.  On pictures the White House looks so grand; but compared to the other massive buildings of the city, it is quite modest in size.  Right away, we noticed there were quite a few security people around; and there were guards on the roof as well.  Later that day, when we were leaving the city, we saw the President’s plane flying overhead.  Later, we found out it was Mrs. Trump returning from her travels.  Another interesting experience was finding ourselves in the middle of a gathering and being offered a program: the purpose was Muslims protesting Isis.


After fighting traffic and searching for a parking spot Saturday and Sunday, my husband decided we would ride the Metro into the city on Monday.  That was a new experience for all of us, from figuring out the ticket machine, to choosing which train to enter, and learning where and when to exit.  It was interesting to people-watch and imagine what each person’s role in life was.

After a delay where the Metro sat for a few minutes, we arrived just in time for our appointment to tour the Capitol Building.  We met our Representative’s assistant and were able to see his view of the Capitol from his office window.


Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable of the history of the Capital Building.  She guided us capably through several layers of security.  The Rotunda was especially breathtaking.



After our tour, we wondered around outside the Capital and enjoyed our picnic lunch.




In the afternoon, we toured the Smithsonian Natural History and American History Museums.  In the Natural History Museum, we saw a variety of animals, rocks, and gems.  I think we all enjoyed the American History Museum the most.  We had a fascinating tour guide that summarized United States’ history in one hour.  There was something of interest for everyone including vehicles, the First Ladies’ ball gowns and china, and historical items such as Lincoln’s top hat.

Our Washington D.C. trip was interesting and enjoyable, but the best part was experiencing it together as a family.


Autumn Color

Here in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, fall has arrived later than usual.  This past weekend, we experienced our first cold snap of the season with a bit of snow in the higher elevations.  I had been remarking that the colors of the leaves were not as intense as some years; but today as we went about, I realized autumn splendor has arrived.

The view from our home in town.

There are some beautiful trees around town; but as I drove up the mountain this afternoon, the sight was magnificent.  Driving up and down the trail, I felt like I was in a colorful kaleidoscope.  Even though it was cloudy and a bit foggy, the foliage was glorious!


There is just nothing like Autumn in the mountains!  All praise to the Artist, our Creator God!

Garden Bounty

I am grateful to report that our gardens produced well this year.  The green beans and tomatoes have been especially plentiful resulting in a level full deep freeze.  We were also able to enjoy lots of fresh lettuce and greens and some carrots.  There were enough peas to put some in the freezer and a decent crop of potatoes and onions.  Herbs included mint, parsley, oregano, cilantro, and dill.  A variety of squash and a few cucumbers were harvested.  Peppers are still waiting to be picked.  I am hoping they will turn from green to yellow before the first frost.  Lima beans are still flowering and filling out in the pods.

At one point in September, when I had run out of room in the freezer and felt we had enough for our purposes, I decided to join our farmer’s market for the day.  Farmer’s markets are something I enjoy visiting, but I really love setting up a table.  There is a joy in providing a product that other people desire and in sharing knowledge of produce and cooking ideas.  People seem to want to share their stories:  both customers and vendors talked of life’s sorrows, tough times, and joys.  Our daughter came with me, and we had a great day.  We had small amounts of beans, herbs, squash, tomatoes, and flowers.  We sold some of everything, but the real surprise was the hydrangeas I had cut on a whim.  They sold out quickly.  Next year, I hope to participate more often in the market.


A few days ago, I noticed the beauty and variety on our cupboard counter.  The vegetables came from our gardens, most of the canned goods were a gift, and the nuts, we picked up on the trail.  Gracious provision from our Creator!



A Day in Cincinnati

In September, we attended a work retreat near Cincinnati, Ohio.  As one of the learning activities, we visited the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a fascinating museum of history of that time period.  Our guide led us through the highlights of the four floors of the museum.  One stop was what appeared to be a tall log cabin.  The building was, in fact, a slave pen.  The guide informed us that twenty to thirty men and women would have been held there awaiting transport further south.  It was a solemn experience to stand inside and remember the horrible injustice that is part of our nation’s history.  Another area of the museum depicted types of places in which escaping slaves would hide along the underground railroad.  One account is of a man who mailed himself to freedom in a package.  For most of his journey he was upside down in the crate.  Our youngest got inside the box to experience a bit of the feeling.


During our lunch break, we took a picnic down by the Ohio River where there is fun, interactive park for kids of all ages.  The children enjoyed the giant checker board, the keyboard with chimes, the flying pig, the exercise pipes, the large swings, and the water pumps and channels.


The day was beautiful, sunny, and mild.  The sky was brilliant blue with puffy white clouds.  There were several types of boats on the river.


The suspension bridges were intriguing, and it was fun to walk across one onto the Kentucky side.20170928_14390620170928_143732

It was a great day of learning and experiencing a bit of Cincinnati.




A Beautiful Day on the Mountain

The weather has begun to feel like fall the last few days, and I love it!  I have always had a fondness for autumn.  I find the cooler temperatures invigorating.  There is a different kind of beauty to the season.

Driving up the mountain today, I noticed the great variety of wildflowers blooming: the intense purple of the iron weed, the brilliant yellow of the goldenrod, and the pale pink of the queen of the meadow.  There were other kinds I couldn’t identify: two different varieties of delicate violet blossoms, some tiny white ones, and one that looked like a miniature black-eyed Susan.

At camp, the hydrangea bush is blushing pink as its blossoms dry.

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While harvesting tomatoes, beans, and carrots, I noticed the sky has begun to look like autumn as well: baby blue with puffy white clouds lying low over the tops of the mountains.

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What a beautiful day on the mountain!

Kudzu Blossoms

The last week or so when we take our dog Daisy for a walk, I have noticed a sweet scent in the air at several spots along the way.  I have determined that it is the kudzu blossoms which are in full bloom right now.  The blossoms smell just like Pez candies, the powdery rectangular candies that come in interesting dispensers.  In my opinion, there is not much that can be praised about kudzu.  We constantly fight to keep it from taking over our yard and house.   But I have to say, the blossoms are lovely and smell delectable.



Vacation and Return

After full weeks of hosting summer volunteer groups, I was feeling spent; so having a time of relaxation and renewal was a blessing.  As a family, we experienced spiritual refreshment at Roxbury Holiness Camp, relaxed as we experienced Chincoteague and Assateague, and reconnected with family in a variety of settings.

At the ocean, the children frolicked in the waves both with and without boogie boards and created sandcastles on the beach.



My husband and I enjoyed the water and sitting under an umbrella.  There is something quite soothing about the sound of the waves on the seashore.


One morning, we climbed the winding stairs to the top of a lighthouse.  The view was amazing.  I felt dizzy as we peered over the railing.


After a time away, it feels good to be home.  I was so glad to see that the gardens are still producing.  We picked green beans, corn, tomatoes, carrots, beets, squash, a cucumber, parsley, and various greens.  Fourteen quarts of beans were added to the freezer.


Tonight we enjoyed a crock pot meal made of many ingredients from our garden including potatoes, onions, squash, tomatoes, parsley, and oregano.


Praise the Lord for His gracious provision!

Gifts from the Garden

The garden is yielding its bounty.  After several harvests, there are twenty-eight quarts of beans in the freezer.


The red beets should have been harvested sooner.  Even though they are pretty large, I plan to make some fermented pickled beets with them.


I was going to wait to harvest the carrots, but I decided to pull the ones that were poking up through the wood chips.  In the four places we have gardened, I have never grown carrots this long.  I am thinking the wood chips really helped to amend the soil.


Thank the Lord for His good gifts!

Glimpses of Summer in the Mountains

Beautiful blossoms are attracting the butterflies and bees.


The other day, I noticed this tree blooming.  The blossom is like a bristly feather fan.

We have got quite a stand of mullein growing out of an old pile of coal at camp.


The string beans are bearing: both Roma and wax.  The second picture, which I think has interesting perspective, was taken by our youngest.



A friend dropped off a solar dehydrator for us, so I am experimenting with herbs and greens.

Interesting mushrooms are growing under the oak tree beside our garden.  I think they might be edible, but I am too cautious to try them!


An afternoon at Martin’s Fork Lake was a welcome break from the heat we have been experiencing.  I had forgotten how beautiful the view is there.





Gladiolus and Fireworks

The gladiolus have burst into bloom this week.


On July 4, we were invited to a celebration at a fellow church member’s home.  After hours of fun including swimming, water sliding, trampoline jumping, music, and socializing, the fireworks show began.  It was a fabulous show complete with music, lighted balloons, laser lights, and the longest grande finale I have ever seen.