Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at the Cooks

We ended up with 17 people for Christmas dinner. Here are some of us, just before opening presents. From left, April, Randy, Jacki, Mike, Robert and Nancy

Robert throughly enjoyed the day!

Rachel with the hand knitted shawl made by her sister April.
Jacki and Mike with the afghan I crocheted. Goes well with Mike's Gator shirt, don't you think?

Robert got a new fishing game which all the big kids played with too.

Jacki with the new fleece jacket I sewed for her.

April made Steve a toy train, out of chocolate candy. Anything made of chocolate is good!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fall, Florida style

After Thanksgiving dinner, we almost always go for a walk. Florida fall is different in that we don't get very many changing leaves, but it is a beautiful time of year, nonetheless. These pictures were taken in the woods near my uncles property near Ocala, FL.

My brother and his daughter. I waited and waited for them to be framed "just right' in that grapevine.

Mistletoe in the trees.

A sky this blue is rare in FL, because of our high humidity.

This is an old wagon trail. We saw lots of deer tracks, but no deer.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

At the top of the list of things to be thankful for is my family!

We celebrated Thanksgiving like we do almost every year, at my aunt and uncle's house. My aunt had the week from, well, you know.....and still managed to host everyone with a smile on her face.
The "adult" table. My mom Lynda, in red, her brother Jerry in blue, Faye, Vicky, Randy and Steve
The "kids" table. We really didn't intend for it to be segrated like this, it just worked out that way. My neice Rachel in blue, neice April in black, Jacki and Mike.

My brother Randy, and my crazy uncle Jerry.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Last weekend, Jacki and Mike came over so I could show Mike how to make pepper jelly. They grew the peppers themselves, and had them cut and seeded before they got there.

It's best to cook this outside, since the mixture is potent! It's basically peppers, vinegar, sugar and pectin. Steve hauled out my dad's old propane cooker, and it worked great to cook the mixture on. Those are pineapple plants in the pots behind them.

Here we are filling the jars. You have to fill them, wipe the lids, seal them and then get them into the canner quickly, to avoid contaminating anything.

The finished product, before we put the lid on. You can see the chunks of red pepper in there. Mike used hotter peppers than I did with my jam, so it will be interesting to compare the two, to see how they taste.

Sam (on pillow) and Shelby. I think this is the closest they have ever been to each other. They were NOT happy to have me disturbing them with my flash!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

After David and Emily's honeymoon, they traveled here, and we had a party for them, for our friends and family who weren't able to travel to the wedding.
From left: my brother Randy, and his daughter April (green shirt)
My nephew Nick (tall one in the back), and his wife Lacey (plaid shirt)
David and Emily
Steve's mom, Myra
Jacki and Mike
Vicky and Steve

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A couple more wedding pictures. These were taken by Emily's friend Brandy, and she was gracious enough to let me use them.

I've never seen so much birdseed in my life! Their car was full of it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Snow on the mountain!

On our way back to Florida, we decided to go through the park, on Newfound Gap Road. When we got about halfway up the mountain, it started snowing! It had been snowing a while, because there was snow piled up on the fencerails, trees, etc. We were quite excited and kept stopping to take pictures. The fall colors were about at their peak, and it was very interesting to see snow, on top of colorful leaves.

You can see how much snow had accumulated. I feel sorry for the backpackers caught out overnight. I am sure they didn't plan for snow in October!

When we got to the bottom of the mountain, on the North Carolina side (near Cherokee) we saw an elk! They are native to the area, but were decimated by the settlers, and have recently been reintroduced. There is supposed to be a herd of over 100 elk, but this guy was all by himself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cades Cove

We met up with our friends Dee and Steve, and decided to tour Cades Cove. If you have never been there, you should go if you have any interest in history at all! It's part of the Great Smokey Mtn National Park, and is a restored/preserved community located in a fairly large cove, surrounded by mountains. In addition to being a beautiful place, many of the original buildings are still standing, and you get a real sense of what life must have been like for the white settlers of the cove. There is an abundance of wildlife also, since they are protected from hunting.

There were turkeys everywhere. Guess they don't realize Thanksgiving is coming!
This is the Methodist church. It might seat 50 people. There are two separate entrances, once for men, and one for women and children. I always find walking through the graveyards fasinating, but soooo sad. So many children's graves..............

There is a working gristmill, where they still grind corn. These are the original grinding stones, now on display outside of the mill. There is also a sorghum mill, blacksmith shop, a couple of houses, and several other buildings.

Steve and Steve.....looking through the barn
Upon leaving the cove, we took Rich Mountain Road back to Townsend. This is a one way, gravel road and is the trail the settlers took to Maryville on their infrequent trips there. It takes about an hour to go the 12 miles. This is a view of the same church shown earlier.


We were able to take two nice hikes while in TN, despite the crummy weather. Tuesday was the only semi-nice day, and we intended to drive to Newfound Gap to see the leaves and scenery. Apparently almost everyone on the East coast had the same idea and traffic was badly backed up. So we drove out to Cosby and hiked to Hen Wallow Falls. It was almost 4 1/2 miles round trip, and the trail was very muddy because of all the rain the area has had recently. There were some interesting rock formations along the way, and we did get some nice views.

The second hike was on Friday, which was supposed to be a nice day but turned out to be crummy all day. We went to Alum Cave Bluffs, which isn't really a cave, but some rock outcroppings. It was misty rain, and damp, which made it seem colder than it really was. I started out bundled up pretty well, and kept shedding layers along the way.

Someone offered to take a picture along the trail for us. It was a very bad hair day!

This was a tunnel we had to go through. There are steps carved out of the stone, and cables bolted into the wall to hold on to. Thank goodness those cables were there, as the steps were very steep and slippery!
The last time we were on this trail was about 30 years ago, with Steve's brother Gerry and his wife. It was winter and the trail was completely iced over. We were too dumb to be afraid, I guess, but I sure wouldn't attempt that now!
In spite of the weather, we had a nice time and it makes us appreciate all the wonderful weather we have had in trips past!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Townsend, TN

While in Townsend, we stayed with our friends Sonja and Cleavy, and their dog Coco. They have a beautiful home with an awesome view of the mountains. Unfortunately the weather continued to be lousy while we were there, but we got out and hiked anyway!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cherohala Skyway

After leaving David and Emily's wedding, we traveled through Mississippi to Telico Plains, TN and the start of the Cherohala Skyway. This road runs through the Cherokee and Natahala National forests, hence the name. Unfortunately the weather was not that great, but we saw some pretty views anyway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

They're married!

Mr and Mrs David Cook
Oct 10, 2009
The wedding was just beautiful. Although there were a couple of snafus, nothing seemed to rattle either of them.

Jacki, Vicky and my mom Lynda
We call pictures like these "scary pictures" because we all look so much alike!

The going away car. David and Emily's friends outdid themselves. The interior was stuffed with balloons, and there were industrial sized cans tied on the back. Someone had the foresight to station themselves up the road about 100 yards, and cut off the cans before anyone or anything was damaged.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

August finished projects

When I posted the July projects, I said that August would be a better month for sewing, and I was right! I actually finished more items, but the camera battery died while I was taking pictures, so I will show them in another post.

The first two pictures are items made entirely from leftovers from previous projects,and will be donated to a local charity that raises funds for breast cancer patients. There are 3 trivet/potholders, and a small table runner.

This table runner is a bit larger than the previous one, and will be a gift. Perfect for fall colors!

This is an apron for Jacki to wear when she is teaching. I embroidered school related designs on the pockets. No pattern for this one. I looked at some pictures and figured it out on my own.

I made myself a shirt out of this fabric early in the summer, and had some left, so I made Jacki a shirt also. It's hard to see, but there is a Vshaped cutout at the neckline.

I actually made Jacki this apron for her birthday back in the spring, but never got a picture of it. She is showing off the cake she made for Grandma Lynda, (my mom) for her birthday.

My mom with the tote bag I made her. The blue square on the front is actually a pocket, and I embroidered it with a fern design to match the print on the lighter fabric.

These are kitchen sized towels, embroidered with various designs. I am thinking of keeping the tan one, and the other two will go into the gift box.

Saving the best for last, David and Emily's wedding quilt is finished! I put it on our bed to take the picture. I made pillow shams to match. I hope they enjoy using it, as much as I enjoyed making it.