Sunny, Cold And Windy

March 21, 2010

After a week of wonderful, warm, sunny and breezy weather which brought the wild flowers and peach blossoms out, yesterday made a 180 degree turn with heavy rain early in the morning, accompanied with high winds and upper 30s all day.  Needless to say the furnace had trouble keeping up.  There was no bike riding or for that matter any outside activities as everyone hunkered down in their campers.  Nancy and I did venture out in the afternoon for a game of hand and foot with Carol and Steve Hopkins. Much of the day was spent watching our NCAA March Madness Brackets being cut to shreds.  I think we each already have about 50% of our teams out.  BUT, most of the games were very good which made for great watching.  Brian was in Providence again yesterday and was treated to two more great games.  Michigan State is still in so we will cheer mightily for them.

We woke this morning to clear, blue skies, light breeze (which is expected to pickup later) and cold temperature.  However, already at 9:15 it is 42 which is warmer than it was all day yesterday.  Great.  No bike ride however.

Time in Fredericksburg is running out for this winter.  It seems like every day just flies by and at the end I wonder where it went and what I accomplished.  It has been great to spend time with old friends and to meet new ones again this year.  We have found Lady Bird to be a wonderful place to just relax, even though it is not always warm.  We have reserved our same site for next year but are thinking that we may not spend the entire winter here.  Before we leave Texas in April we will visit “The Valley”, with the idea that we would spend January and February there where, because it is further south, we expect it would be warmer.  We understand there are many campgrounds, and one in particular has 3 nights a week of dulcimer jamming.  I think we all know who would enjoy that!  Nancy would certainly enjoy joining the jam and I would equally enjoy listening.  Who knows I might even find a guitar teacher who could get me started for real.

In the meantime we continue to enjoy this new phase of our lives.  The freedom is really great and not worrying about what might be going on with a house we only visited is even better.

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far”

March 06, 2010 Texas Independence Day Trail Ride

March 6, 2010

Texas Independence Day Trail Ride Fredericksburg to Austin

Texas Independence Day Trail Ride Fredericksburg to Austin

Texas Independence Day Trail Ride Fredericksburg to Austin

Annually Texas celebrates it’s independence.  In Fredericksburg the celebration includes a trail ride which began today and will end next weekend in Austin.  As a newly arrived Texan it is hard for me to call myself one yet but I do feel like this is a time honored tradition for which I feel fortunate to be able to witness.  These riders will travel the 80 or so miles over the next several days stopping each night to camp and remember their heritage.  As they were riding by this morning I could not help but wish I could have been riding with them.

Luckenbach,TX also celebrates the day with the changing of the flag.  Each year on this day they lower the Texas flag that has flown over the little town of Luckenbach.  Reverently they carry the flag to an open fire where the blue, red, white and star of carefully separated and each piece burned.  A new flag is raised for the current year.  Following the event there is music, great food and plenty of Lone Star.  Tonight they will have a dance in the old dance hall that is been maintained and is in excellent condition.  Tomorrow there will be more music and celebration.  Unfortunately the weather outlook is for wet so we will likely miss tomorrow.  While not a regular Willie Nelson, will stop by and sing a song when he is in the area.  Luckenbach reminds me of what the Old West was like so many years ago.  The pictures below will give you a taste of what we experienced.

Luckenbach Texas Ranger

The Texas Rangers of Luckenbach

Descendent of Texas Ranger

Burning of Previous Year Texas Flag

Prose & Poetry

February 10, 2010

Prose and Poetry are not my strength, but I do enjoy creating words!

As I look out the small window behind this screen I see snow everywhere.  Living on Devil Creek where the hemlocks abound the light fluffy snow just weights their branches down.  As much as I dislike snow and cold it is a beautiful winter scene.  Lucy and Coulter love the snow and are out playing right now, while I try to keep my feet warm.

Yes, we are still on Devil Creek!  Yes, we are still waiting!  Hopefully news will come soon, we hope!  In the meantime we will continue to chill out and wait.

Devil Creek

January 30, 2010

December and January seem a blur, with everyday packed with things needing to be completed.   As I look back I am amazed at what was accomplished in such a sort time.  Did we get where we thought we should be, of course the answer is NO.  Although we donated and disposed of a lot of stuff, in the end, we still saved a lot.  The saved things are now in their temporary homes where we will visit them each time we are in Oakmont, Boston and Rye, since these places are in the north that will only be in the summer.  Time was certainly a contributor, as were the memories from earlier times. Brian, Diane, Scott, Jason and Erica were so supportive and worked so hard to help us make our dream reality, no words can express the gratitude, love and heartfelt thank you.  The house and barn on Devil Creek are now empty despite our still hanging around in our new home.  I guess maybe our new home needs a name, any ideas?

With everything completed on Devil Creek, except closing the sale with our Tennessee Buyers, we are now focused on cleaning up some loose ends before we hit the road.  If it works out we would like to be physically present for the final walk through and closing, which is waiting to be scheduled.  The appraisal is the last known task needing to be completed and that will happen next Tuesday, February 02.  Maybe then we can get an idea of when we will close, hope so because this winter weather of snow, ice and cold temperatures is wearing mighty thin!

Cold, Cold, Cold

January 5, 2010

The word for the day is that it is cold with light snow in the air on Devil Creek.  It has been this way for a week now and we are feeling the impact.  The camper water system is frozen, but hopefully not harmed, the house water was frozen in the barn mechanical room, but we got that thawed and running full time in the house.  We are making due but getting very tired of the cold. Being in Fredericksburg, TX would be no better as it has been about the same kind of weather there also.  It was 73 in Glendale, AZ  last night so maybe that is where we need to be!

The boys arrive this weekend to pack us up so that by the 15th the house should be empty.  We are making great progress with the sorting, tossing, donating and packing but we still have a fair amount more to do before next week.  We also still have two things left on our list from the home inspection, but those should be resolved later this week.  Lynn Looper has been kind enough to agree to handle them. We are just waiting for the joist hangers for the deck.  I will be most happy when we have closed on the house and turned it over to it’s new owners.  I think we will do that on the 19th at the closing.  Ron and Kathy James stopped by on their way home from Florida and picked up a load of things going to Michigan.  Thanks Ron and Kathy.

We are two weeks away from closing on the house and starting our new career.  After picking up our new truck in Elkhart, IN on the 20th we will drop off the Chevy in Lima, OH and head directly south, do not pass go do not collect $200.  We will likely go south to Alabama before heading west.

We had some really sad news last weekend, Steve Hopkins’ father, Walter, who had been very ill for a very long time passed. Steve and Carol you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We are so sorry that we are not with you to provide support and comfort. But we know that you have family with you in Richmond, IN, which will be a comfort.  Just know that Walter his with is Lord and is no longer suffering.  He is happy with his feet kicked back reading a good book and smiling down at you.

Happy New Year to all as we close one period in our lives and prepare to begin another.

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2009

Oh so many years ago, in a time much different that today, in a land far from Pittsburgh, PA a child was born.  Today that simple birth has in so many ways been forgotten.  What a shame.  Now I am not holding myself out as a holy person or even one that worships on a regular bases.  I do however, think about such things  a lot a wonder how and why the original meaning of this season is being lost.  It is my wish for all that they would take 60 seconds to stop and ponder the wonder of the time.

We are with family and some of us will head out this evening for a youth church service with Christian and others.  Jason is preparing a feast for after the service and we will share gifts with family who will be unable to spend tomorrow with us.  Meredith, Will and Ethan are very excited for the special visiter who hopefully will come early tomorrow morning.  As for Grandma and Grandpa our Christmas has already arrived, just spending time with family is the only gift we wish.

To friends and family who will not be able to join us in Pittsburgh this year we wish the Merriest of Christmas’.  God Bless each and everyone on you and know you are in our hearts.

Snow On Devil Creek

December 20, 2009

The weather outside is snowy and the temperature is cold, at least for me.  The trees are heavy with fresh snow and against the green of the hemlocks, holly, and laurel it is a beautiful scene.  Nancy says we should enjoy this because it maybe a long time before we see it again.  And I say that is OK!

Scott arrived yesterday without problems.  The weather along his route from Manchester, NH to Nashville, TN was for the most part clear and dry.  Of course, we were concerned that the winter storm that is marching up the east coast and arrives in New England today would present challenges for air travel but the good lord provided for clear sailing.

After settling in on Devil Creek we attack the stuff, and yes it is just stuff, in the barn.  It was so good to have the help and we were able to make great progress.  Between casting much to the trash and for donation to the local thrift shops we will be left with much less.  We have set aside somethings for Jason and Brian to look at before a final decision is made.  Of course there were a few things that either Nancy or Tom could not bear to part with, those will be stored somewhere for the next phase of their lives.

Today, Sunday, we will finish up the barn and spend time gathering information so that Jason and Brian will have some idea of the amount of space need for transport.  Additionally, we will try to identify those items that will be on loan to family while we are exploring the country and those things that will need to go to a storage unit in Oakmont, PA.

Everyday we eat a piece of the elephant and everyday that elephant gets smaller.

Rain, Rain, Wind, Wind, Cool, Cool

December 8, 2009

Rain, Rain, Wind, Wind, Cool, Cool, that about sums up the day!  Today was another day of sorting, separating to donate or keep, and setting aside to look for a potential buyer.  It is refreshing to down size and simplify.  While I still have way more clothes than anyone person needs I have eliminated about 75% of what I had just this morning.  The house closet  and dressers are now empty. I did find that I had a very few things that I might want/need when the upcoming adventure is at an end.  We will find a place to store them for the future.  Nancy has done the same but she is much better at eliminating than I.  The Christmas decorations, which by the way we have not had out in at least 4 years, have been evaluated and the majority are headed to Habitat tomorrow.  We have 3 or 4 boxes that we will keep for the future.  The only pending Christmas items are the stained glass things that I made and we used.  In an earlier year we gave Jason, Scott and Brian an assortment, but we still have more.  Jason has ask for a few and we will take them to him when we visit for Christmas.

Stayed toned because I am sure there will be more fun coming.

Another Day!

December 7, 2009

Thought I would check in with some words of wisdom.  I/we have been accumulating stuff for over 40 years with little or any of it making it’s way out of my/our possession.  The natural consequences of the in action is much of it has not been touched in years. So my words of wisdom are if you have not used something in 5 years it is time to find it a new home.  Sure wish I had done that. So our natural consequences are that we get to do it all within the next 6 weeks or so.  I will say that it does feel good to unburden myself of all the stuff.  Just wish I had done it years ago.  It really is not that hard, even though at the time I felt it would be like the end of the world.  Simplifying life is the thing to do.  Good Luck

Back To Tennessee

December 6, 2009

Tom, Nancy, Lucy and Coulter returned to Tennessee this week to begin the arduous task of sorting and disposing of 40 years of stuff that I/we could not live without.  Having decided, about a month ago, to sell our house in Tennessee and become full time travelers and expecting it could take 6 months or more to sell, yes you guessed it, it sold in 18 days.  So what was suppose to be a warm winter spent in Texas with Carol and Steve turns out to be a cold one spent on Devil Creek sorting and disposing.  Oh well, at lest there are no more weeds to pull.

The sorting and disposing is slow as fond memories of the past are relived when a new box is opened and the decision of what to do with that Christmas decoration not used in 5 years or the piece of clothing not worn, or that tool not used must be made. Each item has memories but as we are learning each thing is just stuff.  We are blessed that our boys are so willing to help preserve the family treasures handed down from grandparents to parents to us that rightfully should remain in the family.  Of course, we also have other things that, at least for now, we cannot give up and again the boys have agreed to store them.  We are expecting this process to take about a month and that by no later than mid to late January 2010 we will turn the house over to it’s new owners and hit the road for wherever our hearts send us.  Not that we have not been doing that, but this time we will have lifted the responsibilities of home ownership from our shoulders.

I guess I should mention, that as I look out the window this Sunday morning in early December I see yellow flowers with white snow capes on the forsythia.  It is very cold, at least for Tennessee and I think we may be focusing on things inside today.