Sunday, May 30, 2010

Revisiting the farm

I am behind and this was actually 3 weeks ago now. That farm park I found had an event going on that Saturday and Adam was having his friends come over to play a session of D&D so I already knew I wasn't going to be spending the day at when I found out about this event while riding through the park on Thursday, I was totally excited.

I wanted to get there around 11 or so so I would have plenty of time to go inside the buildings and see what all was going on. But after getting all the fruit and veggies cut and all the other food laid out, I only had one hour to explore the park. I started by stopping at the blacksmith shed. I talked with the blacksmith about blacksmithy stuff and how it all works. He was making a spoon.

Then I stopped by the main farm house where a woman, the "farm wife", was cooking dutch oven food and moitoring the children who were dipping candles and churning butter.

I took up some of her time and found out that they will be ahving an event there called "A civil war Christmas." and they're looking for volunteers so I am going to get in touch with her about that. :o)

I took a tour through the house. You could only walk down the main hall and peer into the 4 rooms off of the hallway. Each room was decorated as if it were in the late 1800's.

Back door overlooking the orchard.

Isn't it a beutiful house?
Down the front porch steps, I stopped at the hand quilting booth. A woman who hand quilts had a few baby quilt tops on display (not quilted yet) and a basket of hand sewn squares she is working on. I talked to her some. She told me though that you should never use a hand sewn quilt because they're much too fragile. That didn't sit too well with me since I know that's now true....or maybe she doesn't make her stitches close enough to last...I don't know.

Then I wound around back down to the little 2 room cabin in the last post. 2 black woman were down there. One was playing the guitar and they were singing black gospel songs. Then they started getting into a conversation and it was appearant that the "daughter" was acting and she was doing a really good job, with accent and everything. Then I got to go inside the cabin and take some more pictures.

By then, a car had pulled up and they were loading up their stuff into the car and all the booths were disappearing. I didn't get to see half the stuff they had going on. Now I have to go to the next one. ;o)

Walking back to the car, I passed by this picnic table that hadn't been undecorated yet...I want one just like it (but it needs the same setting). :o)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Discovering McDaniel Farm Park

If I leave work and go home then I have to almost turn right back around to make it to the public session at the ice rink on Thursday nights. So I decided to take my bike to work with me and ride somewhere while waiting for the session to start. I heard of this park and passed by the sign for the turn for the park many times but was never curious enough to go to it. But on the internet I had seen that there was an old farm house in the park so I decided it would be worth a visit at least once. Plus, there were bike trails so I could get a ride in and see an old house...two of my favorite things....history and biking. :o)

From the parking lot you can see the big barn and the big vegetable garden. I got excited because I didn't realize it was kept up as a farm. But as I went down the trail, I didn't see any other buildings. Instead, the trails went back into the woods. It was nice and shady and breezy so I was really enjoying myself. It opened up in a field occassionally.

One of the petals was almost as big as my hand...big flowers! This is for you, Sheri. ;o)

Most of the trails were paved but this one wasn't. It was also a very nice trail, all in the shade. Toward the end, I came out of the woods and saw this little cabin at the top of the hill. It was so cozy and cute. I had to wind around the trail to get to it to look inside the windows.

This was in one of the two rooms of this cabin. It was one of the only pictures that didn't have glare from the window in it. I really like the way this pic turned out...if only that stereo weren't there!

I really liked the look of this outhouse. I opened up the door and it was a one holer but there was a piece of wood screwed over the hole so I have no idea if it was real....I'm thinking it's not since this is a museum type of it didn't smell like it was real.

This is what was on the table in the other picture, a crock with sourdough starter (really empty but that's what it's supposed to be), a dough bowl, a rolling pin and some wooden utensils and an oil lantern. I really like this little cabin. I found the farm house too. But it was closed up like this little cabin. The next post will have pictures of the farmhouse because I actually got to go in it on a subsequent trip.

This is the view I was greeted with when making my way back to the paved trail from the cabin. Itwas so magical.

I spent too much time there because I was just really enjoying myself and loving life. I was late for ice skating but it didn't even bother me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Be gone, you stinkin' hives!

In 2005 (I think) I got a herniated disk in my neck. My neck never really hurt. My limbs were always numb and tingly. My stomach knotted up and tried to detatch itself from the rest of the pipes when I ate, and when I didn't eat, it hurt then too. I was always faint and I couldn't stay awake for very long at a time. My average day looked like this: Wake up. Fill dog's food and water bowls. Get dressed. Get dogs outside. Leave for work and eat on the way to work. Pull over to take a nap. Get to work. Work for a little bit. Take nap. Work for a little bit. Take nap. Eat lunch. Work. Take nap. Work. Drive home. Pull over to take nap. Get home. Say hi to dogs. Climb stairs to the bedroom. Take nap. Feed dogs and me dinner. Go to bed for the night. I wasn't awake much but when I was, everything hurt so much. It was a LOOOOOOOOOONG 5 months!! They found the herniated disk finally and sent me to physical therapy and also sent me to be put in traction a couple times a week to take the pressure of the disk. A few weeks later, everything returned to normal....except 1 thing.

My allergies changed. I am still allergic to sagebrush and cranberries but not cats. I can pet them to my heart's delight now. :o) But I am allergic to something new now. I have no idea what! But whatever it is, it has given me a case of chronic hives. I refused to take allergy medicine for it for about 6 months. I would be covered in hives over more than half my body most of the time. They were itchy too!!! I finally caved in and started taking claratin. It offers some relief but not completely.

One would think that during and after a shower, my skin would feel great, relieved even, after having all the allergens washed off but it has been the opposite for me. My worst cases of hives have been in the shower or directly after it, and also when changing clothes. Because of this, I have started believing that my skin is allergic to the chemicals, preservatives or fragrances used in things like shampoo/conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, laundry & dish detergent, face wash and dryer sheets. I could be way off on this but I can't explain that any other way. So, in an attempt to make things better for myself, I have sporadically and temporarily replaced some of those products with more natural products. But since I haven't switched everything at once, I really have no idea.

So my new experiment is to stop using all those items and replace them with fragrance, chemical, preservative free items. Homemade is cheapest so I'll use those when feasible. I have switched to fragrance & chemical free laundry detergent and quit using dryer sheets. I rarely get hives when changing clothes these days. Seems like I'm onto something there. I have unscented lye soap for use in the shower but haven't made the switch to natural shampoo/conditioner or the other things yet but one thing at a time...

This morning, I made up a batch of toothpaste.

I just used some baking soda and added enough water to make a paste. Then I added some peppermint extract. I was supposed to use peppermint oil but didn't have any. I couldn't even taste it even though I added quite a bit by the time I was done. I need to use the oil in the next batch. WOW! You'll be awake by the time you're done brushing your teeth! It's got a severe taste...kind of salty in that it stings like a mouthful of salt. It wasn't my favorite thing to use but I will experiment and get it right and with time will get used to it some. I just put it in a tiny little tupperware container and dipped my brush in get some on the bristles. I've eaten twice since brushing my teeth this morning and my teeth still feel nice and clean.

Hopefully, this experiment gives me the results I am looking for and I'll be free of the allergy medicine once again. I can hope anyway!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reflections through the window

Adam had a party on Saturday with his friends at our house. We cleaned up pretty good and I now have a table to eat at. It's tucked into the corner of the dining room next to a window. I have eaten breakfast there every morning since it got cleared off and I watch the birds jumping around in the branches of a crape myrtle and the bushes. At one point all the birds flew away and I was looking at just the crape myrtle. When it was planted, it had plenty of room to grow healthy but the pear trees it was next to became overgrown and in order to get any light, its branches had to stretch tall, longer than crape myrtles are designed to be. The branches were tall and spindly but we never noticed because it was always tangled in with the pear branches. One day, a few years ago, there was a storm that caused the pear trees to split and fall.

It was then that we realized how long the branches actually were. Still, it looked strong enough so we left it alone. But when spring came, the limbs sprouted leaves and the weight was too much and the branches bowed under the weight and touched the ground. I trimmed it as much as I felt safe doing. If you do too much in one season, it may die. I wanted to save it if I could. Each fall and spring that I lived here afterward, I would trim some more, always careful to not trim too much. Last week I trimmed it up some like every spring. I saw more that could be done to it but I called it good for this season.

It wasn't until this morning that I looked at the tree and was amazed at how healthy and sturdy it looked!

And the first thing I thought of was how that tree was like us. We are frail and flawed but with time and the help of our Heavenly Father we can be made stronger. It isn't an instant thing. It takes time. And it also takes sometimes painful experiences but Heavenly Father knows how much pruning we can take at once and if we just have faith and endure our trials will be for our good. It will take us from a spindly ground hugging tree to a mighty, majestic oak.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is good...let's go for a ride

The weather has been so nice so the road calls to me...I must obey. :o) I drove out to Dacula after work one day and road some of the backroads without really knowing where I was going. I love exploring new roads because you just never know what you'll see. I don't know what my problem was in the past. I said Georgia wasn't pretty. But the traffic and crowded roads were really what I had a problem with. Now that I've finally resigned to the fact that to get a decent ride in, I have to drive just a little bit, I have come to terms with Georgia. I still don't like the humidity and I like the mountain views and being able to see the sunsets and sunrises more than the trees here but the trees are pretty and I am really loving the scenery away from the crowded parts of the state I can't say I'm in love with Georgia but I am finding it very pretty this time around and I am enjoying my biking here. Exploring new roads and areas is keeping biking fun for me here since I really only had two routes I could take before.

I got onto Luke Edwards RD from Harbins RD and there were lots of large houses with large, manicured lawns. Honeysuckle draped over the trees and bushes, giving off their sweet scent. I don't know what it is about honeysuckle but every time I smell it, I can't help but relax my body and inhale deeply. It's thick in the air this time of year and riding out in it is just amazing. It makes me happy.

As I was looking at this hill and thinking about climbing up it (it's not that big, I'm just lazy) I passed a park entrance. I stopped in to take a look at their trail map. A little over 1 mile of trails. I wanted to take a ride but I decided that if I had time on the way back that I would go ahead and stop in. But I didn't pass back by that way. Maybe another time.

Old house site with a pretty, flowering bush. There were still some short brick pillars just out of the frame. I think they were the foundation.

Mountains in the distance!

Happy cows come from Georgia...they told me so.

Stormy looking skies had me on edge but they never opened up. Lots of honeysuckle in this lot. Yum!

I was impressed with this house. I don't know if it's new or just has new siding and roof but I really like the looks of it....farmhouse meets cabin type of feel to it.

These are the types of trees I thik of when I think of rural Georgia. Lots of them out here and they are quite large and great for shade. This one was big but is probably more of a medium sized one for this type of tree.

I laughed when I saw this little pond. Nothing like swimming and fishing at the same time.

There are house/sheds/barns all over the place here that nature is taking back. I think this one was a house but can't be sure. Notice the lovely honeysuckle enveloping it...aaaaaaaahhhhhhh, sweet honeysuckle. :o)

Biking is so great! I can't explain why i like it so just makes me feel good. It's different than a car ride because all of my senses are actively engaged and I am go slowly enough that I can see everything, even an ant making its way across the pavement. I can stop when something moves me and take it in more fully. I feel more connected when I ride...connected to the earth, to my spirit and to Heavenly Father because I am constantly amazed at the wonderful things He's created for us, the things he has given us to make life more enjoyable. I am so thankful for being able to have a working body that allows me to get out and enjoy those things and for being in a time and place that allows me to do that. Life is great!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Harbins & Patrick Mill RD

The next section of my mock tour. Actually, I skipped part of the route because it was a part I rode during the winter. I rerode part of it but that was because I had to start at a parking spot.

I really had to go to the bathroom so I backtracked to a bar & grill. It was so dark inside! I asked if there was a restroom I could use and the bartender directed me to it. But there was a woman in there already. I was going to wait patiently but the couple that was sitting near the restrooms told me they'd make sure no one went to the men's room so I could use it. I came out to find the guy talking to another guy who was now in line for the restroom. There were a bunch of motorcycles outside and I parked next to them. One guy standing outside thought that my kickstand was pretty's basically a light version of a motorcycle kickstand.

Lots of nice rural countryside views.

I think these were trumpet vines but I've never seen this color variation on it before.

An unusual church in Winder

Azalea bushes are plentiful in yards around those.

Turkey vultures were circling something

Another nice spring ride.

Winder - Struggleville

Whoops, I did some drafts and I got this one and the next one in the wrong order. Oh well. This was from Winder to a church on Pleasnt Hill Church RD. I didn't really know where I was going but I had a vauge idea of directions...I got turned around though. I had to stop and ask someone for directions to Highway 82. Turns out I was already on it.

Highway 82 actually had a good shoulder!! A first for a Georgia far I like it.

At about this point I stopped to adjust my rear brakes. I don't know how long they had been rubbing on the rim but they were too tight. It sure makes it easier to ride without the brakes holding my wheel.

Cutest little pony I ever saw! His mom is a miniature so he is smaller than any foal I've seen. The sign out in front of these horses said Equine Retirement Center, stall available. SO if your horse has gone into retirement and is looking for a good community to move into, I've found a spot. ;o)

Lots of water towers in the area.

Pig City Flea Market. I was pretty neat. A woman offered to take my picture in front of it..I declined but should have taken her up on it.

I love this litle house! It's in Struggleville which appears to have once had a gas station and a feed store and a few houses. This house was in bad disrepair and not being lived in anymore. The feed store and gas station are both closed.

Beautiful home in downtown Winder

Locomotive's a little bit bigger than the bike.

Made it back to the car before the sun set. It was my fastest ride since the ride I did the day after Thanksgiving with some people from church. I was out for 2:16 and did 21 miles. So it was 9.4 mph average, I believe. I really wanted to make good time today and for me, that is good time. It's a lot slower than I used to be (back when I was riding everyday) but since I don't ride everyday anymore I have to be happy with the slower speeds. I really enjoy being out on the rural roads so much better than the roads near Lawrenceville and Dacula. But I can't do rides so far from home on week ngihts since I have to go home and take care of the dogs afterward. Learning as I go.
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