Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm back...sort of....

What a week! On Mother's Day my Mom's house was struck by lightening! It hit a back wall and came through an electrical outlet behind her wood burning stove. The stove protected her from the shower of sparks but the stove's fan that was plugged into that outlet was blown out of the wall and into pieces. She said it sounded like a cannon going off. It left long black streaks up her wall and her house without power for 8 hours. It also blew out all of her phones and her coffee pot. It scared her....and me!

She was supposed to come over for a special dinner for Mother's day but was afraid to leave the house while waiting for the power company. So, my 4 boys and I loaded up the dinner, drove to her house across the yard in the pouring rain and delivered a meal along with us to enjoy it with her.... by candlelight. It was an adventure. I am so thankful for my Mom. She is a rock for me...always supportive..loves my boys ferociously. I am thankful that our Father has allowed her 81 years on this earth and I pray that she has many more!

The power company recommended turning off the breakers to that room until an electrician could check the box on that wall. We thought that was a good idea.  She managed to find someone to come the next day and all is now o.k. I took her shopping to find new phones and set them up and to replace her surge protectors. She's on her own about the coffee maker - don't drink it and don't know a thing about it.

We also had a close lightening strike which knocked out our internet service completely for 4 days. The last few days we have seen Comcast nearly everyday. We have VERY intermittent internet...(on again, off again, every few minutes!). They have replaced the modem but nothing seems to work. They are coming again tomorrow. I am just now getting email and orders from a WEEK ago - I'm so sorry. I always try to ship out within 48 hours but one poor lady has been waiting a week and I just got her order. I think I have them all now and will hit the post office in the morning.

We enjoyed our time at the Appalachian Fairgrounds. It is never a very busy festival but we see good friends each time and we are always hopeful that it will be better. Mom was sick the first day of this last festival...I think it was the first time I went to a festival without her. It was a VERY slow day so the boys and I managed although we missed having her here. It was hard for me to leave her at home knowing that she wasn't feeling well (I knew she had to be really sick to miss working a festival with me!). It just showed me that even though I am over 50...I still need/want my Mom!

We have been getting a lot done after school each day - much time in the garden and the greenhouse. Pictures coming as soon as I have a connection that works without copying and pasting from my word processing program!

Just wanted to let ya'll know that I haven't vamoosed...and that as fast as I get emails and orders I will be responding...just not sure how fast that will be until they get this fixed...hopefully tomorrow!



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Come to see me in Gray TN!

I am off to the Garden Fest this weekend! I will be at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray TN...just outside of Johnson City! There should be lots of wonderful plants, for garden and for home, fun things for little ones to do and many speakers teaching on different subjects! You can read all about it here.

The Garden Fest is open from 10am to 5 pm on Friday and from 9am to 5 pm on Saturday. I'll be speaking each day. Friday I will be doing a demonstration on making herbal compresses and poultices. On Saturday I will be teaching on growing and using herbs. There will be lots of yummy things to taste during my presentation on Saturday!

Josiah will be there with cane poles and bean tee-pees (for gardens and for summer hide-aways for little ones). Jeremy will be there with his wonderful hand-beaded jewelry.

I am supposed to be inside near the speakers' area and kids' workshops. If you attend, please drop by my booth and introduce yourself!  You just might find your picture on my blog next week!

See ya'll there!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Have you ever?

The boys and I spent the last weekend in April at the Exchange Place in Kingsport TN. We go each year and I teach each day on using herbs. This year I taught how to make compresses and poultices. The weather was wonderful on Saturday but Sunday loomed dark and ominous. We were promised severe thunderstorms....they were delivered. In the middle of the deluge, and during the time I was scheduled to speak, they held a Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle contest. Have you heard of one? I couldn't imagine. The excitement was in the air because the WORLD CHAMPION Gee Haw Whimmy Diddler was there...he lives in our area...who'd a thunk?

Gee and Haw? It was ringing a bell...something to do with mules...

Dying to know by now?
The whimmy diddle is in fact an Appalachian folk toy that has been around for centuries. The whimmy diddle is fashioned from two sticks of laurel or rhododendron wood; one stick is notched and has a small propeller tacked to the end. When the notched stick is rubbed by the second, smoother stick, the propeller begins to spin. The art is in getting the propeller to both gee (spin to the right) and haw (stop and spin to the left); skilled diddlers can do it with either hand, behind the back, in under a second.

About 10 minutes before the contest, someone stuck a whimmy diddle in each of my younger boys hands. The WORLD CHAMPION gave instructions to the small crowd of whimmy diddler wannabes. My boys had the advantage - they stopped playing long enough to listen...aaahhh...the perks of homeschooling!


Here is Elijah practicing. He is "in costume" to help his brother "Tom Sawyer" sell cane poles and bean tee-pees that Josiah made from our bamboo grove.

Josiah and Elijah decide to collaborate and share hints and tips...shocking to others (brothers being kind and helping each other?).... it paid off in the end.


Then came the contest...alas I was speaking and missed the whole thing. Older brother Jeremy was sent with the camera to record this for posterity :)


The judges are seated. Don't ask about the hats...I haven't a clue. The bearded gentleman behind Elijah is the WORLD CHAMPION! He is giving the rules before they begin. It was a hard decision I am sure...however....


I am the proud Mama of the Edens Ridge Junior Champion Whimmy Diddler of 2008. That's my boy! Way to go Elijah! He got a basket full of ol' timey toys. A cup and ball toy, Jacob's ladder, marbles, jacks and of course a whimmy diddle!

Now...on to the adult competition (aren't you just on the edge of your seat?)


There were men of all ages. Josiah was a bit surprised that at 14 he had to enter the grown-up competition. Did I mention that the bearded gentleman in the front, in the purple shirt, is the WORLD CHAMPION? Josiah gee'd and haw'd his heart out. Considering he had years 10 minutes of practice I think he did well.

Now he is attempting the fancy stuff - he isn't showing off...they actually have to do this...


Behind the back...gee'in and haw'in! I was informed that some of the uumm...err....more portly contestants had to drop out during this portion of the contest...just couldn't quite reach.

And the final outcome?


I also happen to be the Mama of the Edens Ridge Whimmy Diddle Champion of 2008. Where is a reporter when you need one?

As Elijah says, "Mom they were ASTONISHED to find out that we were brothers". (I'll just remind you that he is 10....there goes that homeschooling thing again!)

I am sure the rumor is that it "runs in the family". And yes...that is actually a working Whimmy Diddle that can be removed from the base...try hard not to covet.

It was a day filled with old fashioned fun, eats, and friendly folk. Ya'll should'a been there!
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