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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, October 28, 2016

From Antiquity to DSL and Winner

~ leaving the Cove, a traffic jam ~

October has been full even if I don't count those precious weeks lost to MRSA and upper respiratory infection. Let me tell's going to be a l.o.n.g. time, God willing, before I step foot back inside any kind of doctor office and don't even think about a hospital! Petri dishes all for germs, germs, germs!

Daddy and Mom have a cabin in the county of Dad's birthplace and I took a whirlwind trip to visit Richard Lee and Loretta Lee (high school sweethearts). They have a place next to "our" place and were going to be in (as we call it) for a couple of weeks. I had business meetings this month so had to sandwich a quick, short trip. Many decades ago, Dad designed the cabin, taking months to draw plans that would incorporate full sized sheets of plywood and sheet rock...he didn't want to cut anything. It's a wonderful structure...three bedrooms with full bath, living/dining/kitchen great room and a mud room on the back.

The only heat is a wood stove, purchased at a yard sale for $25.00. Trust me, when it's cold outside, it doesn't take very long to get a good fire going as cold is a powerful incentive! My brother keeps campaigning for a wall mounted propane heater, in lieu of the stove, but I agree with Dad...part of the cabin's charm is the wood stove.

The first thing I do, upon arrival, is go to the well house and turn on the water. Actually, that's the second thing I do...the first is beat a stick against the well house door to let the snakes know I need to get in. The switch is flipped UP then the next switch is turned to open the valve so the water can flow from the well to the cabin. When I go back to the cabin, I turn on the electricity, flip the breaker for the hot water heater, turn on the propane gas for the cook stove and only then, prepare the wood stove to light a fire.

Dad's Mennonite friends built the stone fireplace and the flower bed and Dad uses his green thumbs to keep blooming flowers from last frost to first.

The last of my apples made the trip with me and, using what was on hand, I made a couple of pies. The tree was bought and planted by me twenty some years ago and was bought as a Granny Smith but has reverted to something else. Dad thinks it's a Punkin Sweet and cousin Richard Lee agrees so that's my story now. It's a heritage apple and one of the best for eating out of hand, pies and cider but to eat out of hand, it should be hit by a hard frost first. That will bring out the full sweetness of the fruit.

We only use the cabin in the warmer months; if we wait too long, a snow can trap us for only God knows how long. Trust me, we don't want to be trapped in that cabin without enough wood for the stove or food in the larder; the kitchen is rather poor, unless we bring what we need or want.  I thought there were be white sugar and there was, but about two cups, only enough for coffee for those who drink sugar in their coffee (I do not). I laid brown sugar in the bottom of the pie plate, topped with sliced apples then a liquid mixture poured over top.

The liquid was made from 1/2 cup of strong Vanilla Chai Tea, cinnamon, white and brown sugar mixed with flour. When the pies came out of the oven, both were a trifle burnt on top which was due to me forgetting about the pies, not being all that familiar with the oven and the pies bring sprinkled with sugar. Even so, the burnt bits were tasty, everyone said so!

Cousins were invited for supper - roasted chicken, butter beans and corn mix and sauteed mushrooms. The 'shrooms were a gift from Robert who, along with Kathy, his wife, live across the road. Both are extremely interesting people; I would love to live in the cabin for a month so I could follow them around and learn from them. They know all sorts of useful to forage food from the Earth's bounty...and in season, how to hunt wild game then put it in cans for eating in the winter, how to stalk an animal through the woods. Things city people don't understand both the why and the how but still useful applications for a lot of folks, including me.

Robert hunts mushrooms and, this time of year, he found these and gave me a poke full saying, "Egg and milk batter, dip in flour and fry." Trust me, they were delicious!

At the cabin, it's all "Appalachian" and what I told Dave..."heat and eat, baby, heat and eat". It's about keeping warm, keeping a fire going and keeping food on the table. There is NO internet, NO mobile phone service, NO landline and precious little television. It's a reader's Paradise! All I did the entire time was visit family and friends, keep the fire going, read, cook and eat. I'm going back in the Spring for an entire week as a gift and blessing to myself from myself.

Fast forward to the condo and business meeting...DSL fast. I could barely type fast enough to keep up with the internet!

To my mind and body, it's still warmish to hot in South Carolina. I walked along the beach in bare feet while people in coats, jackets, scarves, hats and shoes looked askance in my direction.

Morning is beautiful, if only because I get another chance, and this morning was no exception.

Shrimpers are out early and, outlined against the morning sky, seem peaceful with no indication of the desperately hard work being done.

To the right, the sugar maple is ablaze with all the glory God threw at it. Autumn is late this year but the beauty is still right on time. A while back, I hosted a giveaway of hand crafted nut bowl and tools and the first winner never responded. So, the second person to win is Deb at It's All About Purple and she's been notified and given until 6 p.m. tomorrow night.

Ponder this ~ "If the angels deem to come, they'll come not because of your 
tears but for your constant resolve to always be beginning to be a beginner." 
 ~ Rilke ~


  1. How wonderful to have a place like that to escape to. It sounds a lot like the area I grew up in...a simple way of life. I had to laugh at you beating a stick against the wall to scare the snakes out. UGH...not my favorite kind of 'critter'.

    I love that your family has that connecting point at the cabin there-that is what life is all about in the end, isn't it?

    I am glad you are feeling better. Praying that the germs find another home and leave you alone. xo Diana

  2. What a wonderful gift this is to have a hand built cabin in your family. My husband and I have one that we built, and we have loved it so much, as do our children. I hope it stays in the family for generations. Lovely shots and your traffic jam is an interesting one

  3. That was a great party you had! I like your idea of going back for a week - your family cabin is a wonderful resource. It's a little like my family's, the way you have to turn on the water and everything when you arrive, and the way you can't be there in the winter. I'm already planning next summer's trip, too.

  4. Heat and eat. Perfect! How gorgeous!

  5. What a sweet family cabin. I enjoyed the stories about it and seeing a bit of it inside and out. How nice to have that to get away to.

    You mentioning your condo in SC, how did it fare with Matthew? I hope all is well there. The beach and ocean look beautiful.

    Your pie looks delicious too. I made a 9x9 inch pan of apple bars yesterday and they were easy and delicious too. Apples, spices = fall.

    Happy Fall to you dear Sandra ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  6. you have a lot of great nostalgia in your life. i would never switch out that stove, switching it would be modernizing the cabin, you don't want to do that!! the stone work behind it is beautiful!!

    i enjoyed the apple tree, apple pie story...your pie making method/recipe is creative. there are NO bad homemade apple pies!!!

  7. Inventive pie making - Im familiar with that methodology. Once I get going on a recipe - I'll innovate like crazy rather than stop and go to the store! Apple dishes are rather forgiving on "exact" recipes - good apples yield interesting food - I made a sourdough apple bread pudding this week - subbed some good raw apple cider for part of the milk and Oh My Goodness it was wonderful - Hubby thought it better than pie and he does love pie.
    Good you got away and healed your soul a bit - we need to carefully tend our souls and your connection with natural world really is positive.

  8. Keep on keeping on . . .
    Retreat Place Special . . .
    Surviving MRSA and more needed some apple pie and mushroom cheer . . .
    My oh my . . . Sandra you amaze me . . .
    Wonderful quote to ponder . . .

  9. A rather magical place.....and fun neighbors. I'm going to read this again......pie baking in a cabin with log heat.....this reads like a story from the past. I'm planning on staying healthy too!

  10. Sandra you live a beautiful life and it's a joy to read about your home, travels and life. Have a Beautiful weekend ..Sara

  11. That's so nice that your parents have the cabin and you have the condo...places of retreat and time with family are so important...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  12. Always interesting to see a new banner image on your blog, Sandra - your beautiful valley never disappoints! Also, so happy for you that after all your recent challenges, you've had a perfect and revitalizing getaway (or two)! Your family cabin looks so welcoming and sounds like it's been well-designed for more simple comfort than my year-round home. But I'm not jealous. Maybe just a bit wistful? ;)

  13. Sandra, I'm glad to hear you are on the mend. How scary that MRSA business is! I love your parent's cabin. What a great retreat for you and your family. It sounds like a perfect get away. Fall looks so beautiful in your neck of woods--it's quite late here as well. Enjoy your days, dear one. ♥

  14. What a wonderful place to have to go to.
    Something like that has always been my dream.
    I to the propane....the wood stove is charming.
    diane @ thoughts&shots

  15. Sandra, I had to go back and read about when you were sick, I'm so sorry to hear that October has been such a rough month for you. And you went to Ireland? That's what I get for being absent so long in the blog world. I see I have some catching up to do here.

    I have such a nice Little House on the Prairie feeling now from having read about your visit to your father's cabin. What an experience you get by being there, I wish all children had that opportunity once in a while. And it does sound like a book lover's paradise!

  16. I just love your style of writing, the words and phrases. You have such a way with words!

  17. goodness, how I love this post. Forest pies to seashore. Perfect!

  18. Sometime having to much to do makes us stupid (me)! Missed a beautiful bowl! It was nice to almost win! Wishing you good health!


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