Friday, October 30, 2009

Special Memories of a Friend.......

Hazel and Betty on the beach in Florida (see story below in the previous post). Those are not ear muffs.....they are headphones for Hazel to enjoy some of my favorite music. Yes.....we DID dance!

Hazel and Betty on Hazel's 99th birthday.

Farewell to Hazel Cooper

Today, I lost one of my oldest and closest friends. She also just happened to be my great-aunt, who next Wednesday, would have turned 100.
Hazel loved life. No matter what the circumstance, she found something humorous in it. She was always open for a new adventure and rarely said no to anything. She knew all of my flaws and my deepest, darkest secrets, and she loved me anyway.
Until recently, we tried to have lunch together at least once a month (complete with a glass of wine) and we always celebrated our birthdays together, along with her lifelong friends Gary and Jim. On my birthday in 2006 when I was on crutches with a broken ankle and she had medical issues that required a walker, she refused to let those silly little details curtail our annual shopping ritual. We were quite the sight, making our way through the isles of Dillards, crutches and walker knocking things off the racks as we went. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes at our predicament!
I will always remember the day we left our expensive meal at the Capitol Hotel half-eaten to run out the door and jump on the trolley, just to see where it was going.
The pictures above are my favorite pictures of Hazel because they capture her carefree spirit. About eight years ago, Hazel and Gary and Jim came to visit my home at the beach in Florida. One beautiful evening, we decided to take a blanket, some wine and the CD player and head to the water's edge to enjoy the sunset. Being the lady she always was, Hazel hadn't brought anything to wear for a wade in the ocean on a chilly evening, but didn't hesitate for a second to borrow sweat pants and a sweatshirt from my closet. It was a perfect sort of spontaneous evening that comes along far too seldom in our lives........and I will never forget her laughter as the waves splashed over her feet and the wind and sea spray made a mess of her perfectly coiffed hair.
And should I ever be fortunate enough to see a beach sunset again, I will look for Hazel's face in the pinks of the sky and hope to hear that laughter once again as the waves kiss the shore.
Farewell, my beautiful friend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Hauntingly Familiar Face......

Dennis saw this shirt in a store window in the Boston Airport, and almost missed his flight, stopping to buy it for me. A little too real, huh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Migrating Geese

If you look closely (click on the photo to enlarge it) between the limbs of these two trees, you can see a small portion of the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of geese that flew over the mountain today. There were so many and they were so loud, I could hear them from inside.

Autumn in my Yard

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dogs in their Natural Element.....

It was a cool, crisp, cloudless morning. The kind of morning you dream about on hot summer days and freezing winter ones. The sort of morning you wake up early and look for reasons to spend as much time as possible outdoors because, as with all perfect things, your heart knows this is a fleeting moment.
My beautiful dogs found this to be the perfect day also because they had the opportunity to engage in one of their favorite sports.....chasing something up a tree. This seems to be to be the canine version of "Lord of the Flies". But, as always, the wise raccoon knows eventually the dogs will tire, get bored or hungry and one by one, wander back to their houses, leaving him an escape route.

Amber, my overweight chocolate lab is a little out of her element out here, but every now and then, I let her out of the house and join the group. A through bath always follows before she is allowed back in.
She thinks it is worth it!

The old large black and white Walker is Bo, father of the beautiful red dog, Teddy, and the smaller black and tan hound Maggie. If Bo were a human, he would have been dropped long ago by his insurance carrier and be campaigning for a public option because he has so many pre-existing conditions. Some days, he can barely walk. But it always amazes me that he seems to have one more hunt left inside of him. I love this dog dearly.

The chocolate lab keeps an eye on the prey. She has to save her energy for the long
walk back home.

This is Maggie, daughter of Bo. Maggie is probably the best natural born hunter I have ever seen. She will stay on a tree for days.....or until I put a leash on her and take her back to her house.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Lloyd

My father's birthday is today.

I can only hope the young college man (pictured left), whistling a tune, without a care in the world, was able to accomplish all he set out to accomplish and lived the life he dreamed of when this picture was taken.

That is all any of us can ask for........isn't it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Tree Outside my Backdoor

This time of year, I get a new slideshow each day, simply by looking through my backdoor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Growing Grass on a Rock

When we first moved to the mountain after living at the beach in Florida, I was fascinated by the wild and natural state of our new surroundings. But as we began to make improvements - clearing the underlying brush, cutting all low tree limbs, etc. - I began to miss having a lawn.

I mentioned this to my dad on several occasions over the years, but he always gave me the same condescending smile and said "You can't grow grass on rock". Which was true.....if you weren't looking down at rock, it was lurking just below the surface. But I never quit thinking about a lush green lawn beneath my feet.

Then, six years later and four weeks ago when the first hint of fall crept into the air, I began to buy rye grass seed, 50 pounds at a time. Every afternoon, I would set out on foot, broadcasting the seed - by hand - throughout the clearing around the house. Occasionally, I would see my husband on the porch, watching me and shaking his head as he has done so many times over the years when I pursued one of my (MANY) silly ideas. But he indulged my foolishness, as he has always done, thinking it was better to let me learn for myself than to point out my folly.

But a week into my endeavor, something miraculous happened. It was one of those things that can only happen in nature and is far greater than anything mere humans can control. IT BEGAN TO RAIN! But this rain was not just a couple of afternoon showers. It was day after day of beautiful soft soaking misty rain like an enormous expensive shower head on the perfect setting. This was my sign! My tiny grass seed would have the water it needed to grow that I had no way to provide otherwise.

So, each day for the past three weeks, in the rain, I have been out spreading grass seed. As of this afternoon, 400 pounds of it to be exact! I am sure I resemble some sort of itinerant farmer, straight off the pages of the Grapes of Wrath, walking up and down the hills in my muck boots and rain slicker, carrying the heaviest pail I can manage.

But as the rains kept coming and the days passed and I began to see the fine green strands, peeking through the rocks, those trips up and down the hills felt less tedious and my pail of precious seeds less cumbersome.

And last week when my husband looked out over the mountainside that I fondly call my "yard" and said "Well, I'll be..... Looks like you did it!", I felt vindicated.

I only wish I had a way to show my dad that with a little help from a force far greater than ourselves, we really can grow grass on a rock!

Wonders in the Woods

One day, about five years ago, Dennis was working in the woods above our house when he looked down and saw a vaguely familiar shape. Curious, he began to clear leaves, brush and dirt from the rock and the more he cleared, the more a distinct outline began to materialize. He carefully dug the rock out of the ground, and hauled it down the mountain on an old tire attached to the back of his Rhino by a chain.
This rock has NOT been chiseled or enhanced or altered in any way whatsoever.
We think he is a beautiful tribute to "Man's Best Friend" and hope we have found an appropriate place of prominence for this natural work of art.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nature Versus Man

We are still in monsoon season up here on the mountain, and most of our outdoor work has been halted or hindered by the water.
While we are looking for indoor projects to conquer, mother nature isn't taking a timeout due to the elements. At daylight this morning, we found these two beautifully crocheted webs. The perfection of each one is breathtaking.
I know in time, the wind and rain will destroy these delicate little pieces of art. But until the elements follow their due course, I don't plan to interfere. Why would I destruct something more masterful than anything I will ever be capable of creating?