Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hawk-Watching, Et Cetera

Something is snatching our son-in-law's birds -- 4 chicks and 2 ducks so far.  I wish I could get a pic of the sneaky chicken hawk, but that probably won't happen.  It even got Henryetta:(  If you will remember, I posted a pic of Henryetta a week or so ago.  Every morning Henryetta would "fly the coop" and sneak in the garage for a helping of cat food.  Now, she is gone.

So, Alan has been appointed as the  official hawk watchdog, hoping to scare it away before it claims another soul.

Scattered throughout rural Eastern North Carolina are many old tobacco drying barns such as these:

The introduction of tobacco into North Carolina has a long history.  When settlers moved from Virginia to North Carolina in the 1600s, they struggled to grow any other crop besides tobacco because of the dry, sandy soil.  At the time, the Europeans viewed tobacco as a luxury and bought it from Spain.  The new settlers saw the opportunity in the overseas demand for tobacco and started growing tobacco in North Carolina as a way to gain entry into the European market. 

Even today, tobacco continues to be an integral part of North Carolina's economy, ranking number one in the production of tobacco, with an approximate annual income of over $750 million dollars -- even with so much negative emphasis on tobacco use.  I am thankful tobacco has never been a part of my life.  However, Alan smoked for many years but finally gave it up a few years ago.

I completed my root canal last week -- with no pain.  So thankful we found Dr. Weeks.  I will start deep pocket cleaning tomorrow, so half of my mouth will be numbed and then in two weeks, the other half will be treated.  We are so ready to be rid of all these doc/dentist appointments -- they are cramping our style:(

We are moving right along with our no meat lifestyle-- three weeks and counting.  

Not much else going on.  I've been organizing the cabinets -- if we haven't used it in the past year, it's out of here!  It was cold this morning, but the sun came out this afternoon and warmed things up a bit.  Rain is predicted tomorrow and Friday.

I want to end our blog today with the following:  We have had a picture in storage that was given to me by dear friends when I retired in 2008.  It now hangs proudly next to our door in the Motorhome, and I wanted to share it with you.

At the bottom, it states, "It's Not Just the Destination God is Interested in, It's How You Make the Journey."

And the Bible verse, "Go ye therefore...Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen."  Matthew 28:19-20

Lord, help us to remember that You, and only You, are in control of our journey and no matter where we go, You are with us.  And may we, in some way, reflect You as we travel.

Until next time, may God continue to bless our voyage, as well as our family and friends near and far. 


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Shall We Eat?

We have been talking for quite some time about giving up meat.  Following Alan's cancer scare, we started researching ways to decrease an enlarged prostate.  We learned that red meat can often lead to prostate enlargement.  Then, a few weeks ago, Oprah had Kathy Freston on her show -- the author of the Veganist -- so we ordered the book from Amazon.  After only reading the first couple of chapters, we decided to give it a try.  We have just completed our first meatless week and can honestly say we have not missed meat in our diet -- not yet anyway.

At first, we wanted to go straight Vegan -- a totally plant-based diet, with no dairy whatsoever.  We purchased soy milk.  After tasting several, we settled on "Silk Light" -- 100% lactose and dairy-free.  For cheese, we purchased "Veggie Shreds" and "Veggie Slices," with pepper-jack flavor. We also bought "Earth Balance" -- a non-dairy, natural buttery spread and "Almond Butter"   to replace our hydrogenated oil peanut butter. 

So far, we "think" we are more vegan than vegetarian, but we realize it will be difficult to stay away from eggs.  Of course, there is egg substitute, which I used this morning in our pancakes, so it is possible to cook and eat without eggs, but deviled eggs is a holiday tradition and I may not be able to pass them up.  Of course, we both know there will be times when we may not stay totally true to the vegetarian lifestyle, but hopefully, those times will be few and far between. Also, for breakfast, we tried veggie bacon and sausage -- which we will not purchase again.

There are a couple of categories under the term "Vegetarian."  

     1) Semi-vegetarian may include fish or poultry on an infrequent basis; 

     2) Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian eats eggs and milk products:

          (a) Ovo-Vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy
          (b) Lacto-Vegetarian eats dairy but no eggs.

It has only been a week without meat, so we're still trying to figure it all out and certainly have a lot to learn.  We went out to eat with the kids after church on Sunday -- buffet at Pizza Inn.  We ate a salad and asked for a veggie pizza, which they made for us -- so we had both veggie and cheese pizza.

We've had both veggie burgers and veggie chicken patties and liked them both.  Most days we've had salads -- similar to this one we had for lunch today with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, pico de gallo and topped with various nuts and dried fruit, along with wheat crackers smeared with Almond butter.

We have had fruit smoothies most days as well, with all kinds of fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, etc -- frozen with no sugar added.  We have not had a problem finding something to eat, but like I said previously, we know we still have a lot to learn.

Moving on...there have been two more sets of baby goats born this week -- 2 females and 2 males for a total of 6.

They truly are fun to watch as they romp and play.

Today Alan caught sight of the two adult males butting heads-- guess they were tired of the females getting all the attention.

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."  Job 12:7-10

May God continue to bless our voyage, as well as our family and friends near and far.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Little Bit of This...A Little Bit of That

We've had another nice -- but windy -- Carolina day.  We had a dusting of snow earlier in the week, but it was gone by noon -- thank goodness.  
It's pretty when it's falling, but can be a mess if it sticks around very long.  Arkansas and Oklahoma has been slammed this year with snow and ice, as have many others.  Our Oklahoma grandkids have missed nine days of school and some in Arkansas have missed as many as five days.  Global warming -- so they say.

There was also an addition to the mini-farm this week -- two baby goats.

 They are so cute when they are little.

From the looks of it, there may be more in the next couple of weeks.

"Don't fence me in" -- that apparently is Henryetta's theme song.  Every morning you can find her outside the fenced area.  She's even been known to sneak in the garage for a helping of cat food.

"Hey guys, how do I get back over there with you?"
And there's always someone looking for a ride.
One more item was checked off our medical list this week.  After wearing a heart monitor for three weeks, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.  I also have a leaky Tricuspid valve, which the doc said "most" people have leaky valves.  I was started on meds for afib and the leaky valve will be carefully watched.  This week I will continue with the root canal that was started a couple of weeks ago. I still have a knot above the tooth, but it is smaller and I have had no pain -- praise the Lord!  

My brother made it home safely from his mission trip to India.  Together the medical team saw approximately 325 patients with various aliments.  Thanks to everyone who prayed for him -- he is looking forward to another mission trip in the future.  Please pray for the people of India...they are predominantly Hindu and there are so many who have never heard the Gospel.  
Until next time, may God continue to bless our voyage and may God bless our family and friends, near and far.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today was a cloudless, blue sky day, with highs in the 50s. We started our day attending church.  We really enjoy the church we attend when we are here.  The pastor is  a great teacher of the gospel and the choir is phenomenal.  

Today's message was based on Luke 5, emphasizing we are all fishermen and if we are to be obedient, we must be willing to cast our nets.  
"For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.  Then Jesus said to Simon, Don't be afraid, from now on, you will catch men."  Luke 5:9-10
The pastor often preaches from a book of the Bible over several weeks, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.

Following church, we joined our son-in-law's (Matt) parents at a local restaurant for lunch.  

Alissa is ready to dive into her pork chops.

I had Greek-style chicken.  Those little round things that look like onion rings are hush puppies -- different than the hush puppies we are accustomed to.

Alan had FRIED catfish...YIKES.  Originally coming from Arkansas, we know about catfish, but this catfish was HUGE!
Matt's parents both had fried cod

Having grown up in Arkansas and spent most of our life there, we thought it was the South.  However, we now know it is nothing compared to the "real south" of North Carolina with their fried food and sweet tea.

After lunch, we took a walk -- grandson, Dalton (12), leads the way, followed by grandson, 14-year-old Jordan, Matt and Alan -- aka Papa -- brings up the rear.  Actually, I bring up the rear with the camera.
 As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the things we find very interesting in this area is the fact there are numerous gravesites in people's yards.  Just down the road from the kids' house is this cemetery.  It's actually one of the largest ones we've seen.  

One of the grave sites is that of a Civil War Confederate Soldier.
We also met a couple of horseback riders -- Henry on the right and Rose on the left.

Back from our walk, we prepared our Super Bowl food, which consisted of cheese dip, chicken wings, redneck salsa -- my daughter's specialty -- not sure what makes it redneck unless it's the blackeyed peas and corn.  It was a good game -- didn't think the commercials were all that great.  Congrats to the Green Bay Packers who were able to hang in there and pull out the win.

Alan has been "training" me at Wii bowling.  One day last week I had nine -- 9 -- straight strikes.
And I beat him 264 to 223
And with that, I say good night and may God continue to bless our voyage, as well as our family and friends everywhere.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I have cabin fever.  It has done nothing but continuously rain since Thursday nightI know we shouldn't complain -- so many people are deep in snow and cold.  We are thankful it wasn't cold enough for the rain to freeze, or we would definitely be in a mess!  This afternoon the rain slacked and we decided to go to Wally World.  It's pretty sad when going to Wally World is your entertainment!  We started at Home Depot.  Last year Home Depot in a nearby town closed and now another nearby Home Depot is closing.  We didn't need anything but just thought we would "look."  Couldn't help but think about the employees who will soon be in the unemployment line.  We then did a little shopping at Wal-Mart.  That's it -- that was our day for the most part.

Our thoughts and prayers have been with my cousin, Donna and her family, this week on the death of her 87 year old mother-in-law, Mildred, in Arkansas.  She was known for her wonderful smile and love for others and will be missed.

My brother should be landing in Little Rock just about now.  Last report I received he had not slept in two days and had made it through customs in Atlanta with all his bags.  I can't wait to hear all the details of his mission trip to India and see the pics.  I know last Sunday he was called on to speak to the congregation of a local church.  I am so proud of him and know he has been blessed on this mission trip and is looking forward to more trips.

We would like to say welcome to our new followers -- there are several -- and we are happy you found us and hope to provide more interesting things on our blog when we once again start traveling.  I am finally feeling more confident about blogging and trying new things.

Since I don't have any new pics to share, I thought I would post one from our trip to South Dakota last year.  

 Chapel in the Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota 

For more info on the Chapel in the Hills, check out our blog post of September 21, 2010. 

Until next time, God bless our family and friends, near and far.