Another Week-end Wrapped Up

We arrived back at Sonnystone early afternoon Thursday.  You can read about our trip at My Travel Blog.  Wink had traveled very well, (even alerting us to bear outside the camper one night!) but was glad to get back to his old box, as were we.

Saturday was Olivia’s Dance Recital (as well as the Preakness, which did not turn out well, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  She has really improved and this year was her best.  In fact, the whole (half) of the recital that I watched was better than the last few.  It’s tough to get dancing pictures from the cheap seats without blur, but here’s my best of her best…

Didn’t I warn you about what happens when we go off-grid?  While we were in the Smokies, the news cycle was Spinning, and when I came out of the no-news-zone it took several hours of reading to catch up with the chaos.  I’m glad I missed it in real time.  Reading it all summed up was anxiety-producing enough…  Of course, those of you who watch faux news 24/7 don’t have any idea what I’m talking about…

Busy week ahead.   The garden is growing strong.  Check out the photos at My Garden Blog.  Until we meet again…



Week-end Update

I bet the winner at the Kentucky Derby across the board, but he wasn’t the horse I was rooting for.  I’ll take my winnings, however bittersweet.  Preakness next….

After the monsoons let up—I thought it would take forever—I scrambled outside to the garden (visit Growing Every Season–my gardening blog),  stopping only to celebrate my #2 grand-daughter’s #9 birthday.

Olivia Mayne Casey, birthday Queen

We’re packing up for a few days,  trailer trippin’ to Cades Cove campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I’ve got a hankerin’ to hike back to Laurel Falls.   We’re still learning about dry camping, and Wink will be coming along, so it’s kind of a science experiment, too.  We never tire of GSMNP and have been dozens of times, but have only seen a bear once.  We’re told that the bear population around Cades Cove has increased and that we will have no problems seeing lots of them!  I don’t know if that’s good or not, but Casey thinks it’s great.

Remember when we were there (at another campground) in late October?  Just before we went out of cellphone range, the news broke that Comey had re-opened the Hillary email investigation…when we came home 3 days later, she had for all intents and purposes lost the election.  Now as we go back into the wilderness, Comey has been fired and…you know…

 We will be gratefully off-grid, and on the lookout for Bears…


birds, coyotes, squirrels, and thoroughbreds…

It happens every year at this time…the spring ushers in waves of thunderstorms, downpours, big winds…the green pops up, bordered by gloomy gray skies on the top and mud puddles on the bottom.  Inside, we’ve had the fires going, cozily going crazy while we watch the birdfeeders…

There has been an influx of rose-breasted grosbeaks at our sunflower-seed feeders.  The male and female look Nothing alike.  The male is quite striking with the patch of rose on his chest and white marks on his wings, while she looks like a large carolina wren sort-of (same eyebrows, totally different beak, etc).

I got this picture on May 2, when we had a brief glimpse of the sun.  Shows 2 males and a female…

In fact, the grosbeaks are kin to the cardinals, but my resident cardinals don’t seem too happy to see them.  One of the female grosbeaks hissed off a male cardinal and she and one of her girlfriends hogged that feeder for a while… Mostly, though, they just crowd in and everybody seems well-fed.  We put out the hummingbird feeders and we’ve had several visitors there, as well.

Speaking of well-fed, a coyote visited Sonnystone today.  We’ve seen him/her before, down at the far end of the property, but today he wandered right up to the birdfeeders by the time we noticed.  Casey said he was after a squirrel and went to chase him off, but he had his eye on two and took off toward the garden where that one scrambled over the fence.  I saw him stand there and sniff, then he took off around to the other side where that squirrel was cornered.  This happened quickly, so by the time we figured out where he was he had the squirrel and was sauntering off…

I have no problem with a coyote eating well, but not that close to my house and my squirrels.  He’s thinking he’s got a buffet here, so we’re on Coyote Alert.  He came back for seconds as soon as he ate the first one, so we’ve chased him off once.  Now the pellet gun is pumped and Casey has a Mission…

Meanwhile, I’m researching for my bets on the Oaks tomorrow and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.  The archives show how many times the Race has been Run on a rainy, cold day, so nothing new there.

Fresh crop of horses that will have to run in the mud, god love ’em.

2017 Kentucky Derby Horses

We’ll stay warm with some Bourbon sippin’ and make our bets online.  Will still wear a hat, of course…


Back home again…

Had a great trip to visit with the NYC grand-daughters, mostly Eliza, who was on spring break.

Anyway, it was a quick trip…  Eliza and I went down to Rockefeller Center, but I failed to get Studio Tour tickets.  Not to be daunted we went** to the Top of the Rock…

We played games and did some book-reading, attended Emma’s All-School Assembly, and just enjoyed being together!!

I arrived back at Sonnystone on Saturday, and I have to brag that my house was freshly swept and my windows were shiny-clean.  All of the my veggie plants were in great shape.  The seeds that I planted last Sunday are just sort-of starting to pop up.  Sunday we planted 9–count ’em–9 double knockout roses across the front of the house.  We’ll be planting veggies this week-end, if not before..!

I’m babysitting Samantha today and tomorrow…

Hope your week is off to a great start!



** (I accidentally walked by trump tower while there…the whole block has to be cordoned off and there are seriously weaponized men everywhere.  I don’t blame Melania for not wanting to live with her husband, and I understand that Barron has special needs,  but according to the New York City Police Department, it has cost the taxpayers an average of $127,000 to $145,000 per day to keep Melania and Barron Trump in New York. By the time the Trumps vacate Trump Tower in June, (if they do) the tallied amount is projected to hit $8.6 million.  Since he’s so rich, can’t he pay that himself?)

(that wasn’t very peaceful, was it?  sorrrry…)

For Real…

Peace to All of you!


Just in case you miss me…

I’m off to NYC for a couple of days–3 to be exact.  It’s Eliza’s spring break and I got a great price on a ticket out of Indy.  We’ve been non-stop gardening for weeks and I’m actually ready for a break.  The weather in Manhattan won’t be as warm, but what better way is there to spend rainy spring days than playing with your grandkids?

Hope your Easter was happy…ours was!


Reading Challenge: #3

#3 on our book challenge list:  Read a young adult novel.

Coincidentally, Kindle First free books offered up just such a tome, “The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland”, so my choice was made.

It’s been a while since I read a YA novel, but the kids-in-the-nurse’s-office (KITNO) often had their heads buried in Twilight or Mockingjay or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I considered those titles, and still do.

Grover Cleveland, however, was a pleasant little book that I read in a couple of sittings while we were on vacation. It’s the story of Zander, a girl from Arizona who is sent to a camp in Michigan for troubled teens.  The teens at Camp Padua are cutters, bulemics, anorexics, compulsive liars, rule-breakers…and some have even tried to break Rule #1: thou shalt not kill thyself.

Zander  seems so normal compared to her bizarre cabin mates.  A straight-A student, she dutifully follows her mother’s extreme eating rules. She wins swim meets to please her father. She’s the perfect teen daughter every parent dreams of, so what’s she doing at a camp full of crazy kids?

Zander meets Cassie, an abrasive, foul-mouthed anorexic girl who slings insults and hides pills.  Zander and Cassie become friends with Grover Cleveland, a kid who is convinced that he is going to grow up to be shizophrenic like his father.  There is Alex Trebek, a compulsive liar (is that his Real name?), who is hilarious.

While a lot of the conversations were so witty and wise that they seemed unrealistic, I’ve heard some pretty smart-ass, messed-up kids that really are that funny/tragic.  Unrealistic was the part where the camp counselors don’t seem to be watching the kids very closely….

We find out Zander’s tragic secret (the reason she is at camp).  Her friendship with Cassie saves her (Cassie).  Grover and Alex are a hilarious duo.  I laughed one minute, cried the next…  Everything ends predictably, but happily, and they all agree to meet up back at camp next year.

The author, Rebekah Crane, writes the dialogues well, keeps the scenes moving, and develops these characters into kids we’re really rooting for.  As mentioned, I’ve been around a lot of kids with emotional problems and I wish they all could meet a Grover, though they would probably dismiss Zander as too “prep” for them.

I love happy endings, but these are kids, and I find myself wondering how things turned out in the long run.  If Ms. Crane writes a #2, I’ll be right there to catch up with them.

Next up on the challenge:  Read a book with a color in the title.



Photo Blog…with a few words…

We pulled the Coach down to Big Lagoon State Park in Perdido Key, Fl.

First morning, sitting outside, I felt a sting.  Two of them.  Yeow, and it was done:  a spider bit me.  One Spider, two bites, one on each foot.  I didn’t actually see the spider, but the painful bulls-eyes were clear confirmation of my suspicion.  First Aid kit was brought out, allergy pill was taken and we set off down to the beach at Perdido Key.

We staggered around the beach all day, so happy to be away from the gloomy drear that we’d left in Eville.

Late that night, I awoke to severe pain, reallyreally bad stinging, from both my feet.  They had swelled quite impressively, so ice was applied, ibuprofen was administered.  The next day, we went over to the nearby CVS and picked up some benadryl cream and bandages.  After talking to some locals, we surmised that it was not a local spider that had offended me.  The only biting spiders in that area are Wolf Spiders.  Since this was clearly a brown recluse, diagnosed by me and I’ve seen plenty of them, we must have brought it down on our sisal rug and it struck when it thought I was going to step on it.

I spent that day with my feet propped, watching the birds and such at the campsite…


I was able to get a shoe on that evening and hobble over to a sunset-watching spot…

DSC_0085 (1)

By taking my own advice and slowing down for a day, I was tremendously better by the next morning’s sunrise and could hike over to the observation tower to catch the show…

The wound is still ugly, but exponentially better. Aren’t you glad I didn’t take any pictures of it?  It looked pretty fierce for a while..

It was such a relaxing trip.  And the sunshine was sorely needed.

I’m finishing up the garden–planted a dozen bell pepper plants today and got the beans and squash in yesterday.  I’ll be blogging that over at Growing Every Season later this week.

Hope the sun is shining where you Are!