Monday, February 27, 2017

A King Cake for the King, Mardi Gras 2017


Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday" is the last day of the 'Carnival' season. It always falls the day before ASH Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Fat Tuesday (which is Tuesday, February 28, 2017) is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday.
Click HERE for a brief history of MARDI GRAS!
It's difficult to think of Mardi Gras without music, parades, costumes, picnics, floats and excitement---->as in New Orleans ---->as in the greatest free show on earth with beads, throws, masks, king cakes, carnivals, colors, and MORE.
Mardi Gras and King Cakes go hand in hand..... especially in Louisiana.
Yesterday, I made a King Cake..... first time ever!
If this does not satisfy your sweet tooth, nothing will.























I reluctantly confess to you that, since retirement, King Ron has done  most  99% of the cooking here in our kingdom.
And I'm not real sure what prompted me to spend this much time and energy in the kitchen, but I did.
Sometimes I just get these wild 'Martha-Stewart-moments'.
I suppose now would also be the appropriate time to confess that I majored in Home Economics in college, and taught junior high students how to cook. HA HA HA.





























So........ here's to the famous King Cake for King Ron!
Happy Mardi Gras 2017























We've never been to New Orleans.
Our Mardi Gras celebration tomorrow night will be dining at The Roanoker Restaurant.
We are such party animals!!!!!














Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fooling Mother Nature

February 23, 2017
71 degrees
Roanoke, Va.
"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
Periwinkle is blooming~















I can almost see it now.....the first day of spring....(March 20):
The ground will be covered with 15-20" of snow.
The winds will be billowing.
Icicles will be hugging the power lines.
The home fires will be burning.
BUT FOR TODAY....... KILL THAT SILLY GROUNDHOG.
(PunxsutawneyPhil saw his shadow, prompting a declaration of six more weeks of winter.)
If you were unable to be outdoors today, another opportunity will be available tomorrow, February 23, 2017!
That's right!
Weather forecasts predict temperatures to soar to 75 degrees.
Spring flowers/bushes/trees are popping up everywhere.
Japonica bushes are in full bloom

Purple plum tree is full of buds and flowers




















Jonquils/daffodils are plentiful!

























Heather bushes are loaded with blooms!














"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
But for now, I'll take the warm rays of sunshine.
I'll take this kind of February.
I'll not complain!

Forsythia bush




















Saturday, February 18, 2017

Retired, but not Expired....Another Hike!

February 17, 2017
Read Mountain Preserve
6101 Crumpacker Dr.
Roanoke, VA 24012
If ever there was a more peaceful place, so close to home, beautiful, with well maintained hiking trails, READ MOUNTAIN PRESERVE (Buzzards Rock) would be a hard act to follow!
(all photos in this blog were taken with my iphone)
(McAfee Knob is the peak on the right).

























What we thought was going to be an "easy 3.9 mile hike", turned into a steep, fairly strenuous, 'moderate-hard' almost straight-up climb. We packed light, since we thought it would take a mere few hours. HA.
The skies were clear, blue, and the air was invigorating.



















Mother nature was showing us some of her best ground work.

























The trails were very well maintained, and included several areas with steps for us 'retired, but not expired' folks. The trail was marked with Carolina blue trail blazes on the trees.

























We were in no hurry to race to the top, and took advantage of rocks that cried out to us; "STOP HERE AND SIT".

























Sections of this hike were more narrow than what we expected. This caused us to concentrate on watching WHERE we were stepping, instead of looking at the view. Thanks goodness for the signs that said VIEW, or we would have missed one of the vistas!



































Did I mention rocks, and boulders?
OH MY!
We crested the mountain's spine to Buzzards Rock.














































































































The area is also known for its buzzards, thus the name BUZZARDS ROCK .
For at least 1/2 hour, we were sprawled out looking up in the sky as these buzzards zoomed by!
Oh to be able to fly like the birds!



















So ends another adventurous day.
We are retired, but not expired!
But for today, it's Advil, coffee, and foot rubs.








Monday, February 13, 2017

Hiking Carvin's Cove/Hay Rock Trail




















Saturday February 10, 2017
It would be difficult to find a more perfect day for a hike in February, than this past Saturday.
We parked our car in the designated commuter parking area (Park & Ride next to the Exxon station) in Daleville, Va. As soon as you cross over the guard rail in the parking lot, you are walking on an unmarked trail.
The path is well marked, as you cross a creek, and railroad tracks.









































The hike seemed easier than what I expected for the Appalachian Trail..... so far!
Ron and I have been walking 4-5 times a week as one of our 2017 goals.
We were confident and ready ready to tackle this trail!
"Can't see the forest for the trees"







































The trail became a bit steeper.
























































The boulders looked similar to one of our favorite places, McAfee Knob (This hike ended up being a little longer, but a lot less crowded than McAfee. The view at McAfee Knob, however, is hard to beat.)
























Oh yea, baby....this is grand! Hear me roar!! HAHAHA 

















Ron's walking stick! (I'll bring one next time)

























There were 3 overlooks with MAGNIFICANT views of Carvin's Cove.
I never knew until Saturday, how BIG the cove really was!
We stopped at this rock for a backpack assortment of goodies and water.














All of the photos taken today were with my iphone. Traveling light was a smart decision.
The ridge is rocky, but the path is obvious!






































Rocky ridge






































Oh what a spectacular view!


















Iphone panorama with Ron on the right

Carvin's Cove in the background

I was on top of the world!

WHAT A VIEW

























































The actual HAY ROCK was another .8 miles up a steep, rocky climb.
We had reached our potential, and then some.
Common sense won over our desire to go to the top..... this trip!
Click here for maps and directions-----> Carvin's Cove/Hay Rock Trail
It was a gorgeous hike, perfect weather, and took us 5 leisurely hours.
We were ready to call it a day.
Next hike? SOOOOOOON!!!







































Sunday, February 5, 2017

Grandparent Survival 101

"Grandchildren are the only people who can get more out of you than the IRS."


















"When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window."















"Never have children, only grandchildren."

























"Now I know why most grandparents flee to Florida."

























In FIVE short days,
the rules,
the schedules,
the house,
the food,
the laundry....... turned to survival mode.
Not for them........US!
We managed to do the essentials. Period.
We discovered that eating vegetables became a game. Actually fish sticks and chicken nuggets, dipped in strawberry yogurt wasn't bad at all.
















We discovered that participating in one activity for more than 20 minutes was a gift.






















We discovered that the female girl child loves to change clothes a million times a day.








We discovered that it took every ounce of energy and strength that we both had.

























We gratefully utilized the "list" of instructions, but quickly realized: Our usual old geezer schedule does not resemble a 3 yr old and 7 yr old schedule....IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.
How to survive when keeping grand babies?
1. Safety first
2. Get plenty of sleep, whenever the time allows
3. Keep your sense of humor. The hair and clothes are not important.

















4. Hugs and kisses and hugs and kisses can never be enough.
5. Encourage unstructured time to play.



















6. Fresh air, sunshine, and outdoor play is essential..... yes, even in the winter!



















7. Laugh. Laugh. LAUGH A LOT!

























8. Believe it or not, children love boundaries and structure.
If they know for a second that they can get by with yanking your chain..........
YOU.ARE.DOOMED.
9. When occasions call for proper attire, these 2 clean up really nice!



















*** Remember that while you may not have the energy you did when you were younger, you do have the wisdom that only comes with experience--an advantage that can make a huge difference in your granchild's life. Unlike first-time parents, you've done this before and learned from your mistakes. Don't underestimate what you have to offer!***