Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bassett Hall Grounds, Colonial Williamsburg

Thalia (the dog) and I went for a walk this week near Bassett Hall in Colonial Williamsburg.  I've never been there before.

2013-01-29103452, Bassett Hall in Williamsburg Virginia
Bassett Hall, Williamsburg
from the garden
2013-01-29103542, Sun on Magnolia Leaves on Bassett Hall grounds
sun on magnolia
2013-01-29102727, Near Bassett Hall in Williamsburg, Virginia, Thalia, 5 month old German Shepherd Puppy watches horses
watching the horses

via the Colonial Williamsburg website:

A simple two-story 18th-century white frame farmhouse nestled on 585 acres of lawn, garden, and woodlands, Bassett Hall once was the Williamsburg home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
  • Built between 1753 and 1766 by Philip Johnson
  • Purchased by Burwell Bassett around 1800
  • Union cavalryman George Armstrong Custer guest in home during the Civil War
  • Property acquired for Colonial Williamsburg in 1927
  • Became Rockefeller home in 1936
  • Opened to the public in 1980
  • Two-year restoration began in 2000
  • Reopened to public in December 2002
to  read more about Bassett Hall click here

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crappy Little Gizmos

I hate plastic toys.  I hate that there are eons of little cheaply made things that people give to my kids (I get the birthday party gifts.  I have a $15 limit.) But the stupid pieces of plastic in the school pinatas, or that people wrap up in little baggies at Halloween, Valentines Day and Winter Break or as party gifts.  I hate them. (And because I'm a grinch I really do not see the need for all this random gift giving of cheap stupid things).

Now I know that some people will call me a snob.  And some will just say "you can afford to be a snob."  But I blame growing up in Europe.  As a kid in Europe I managed to pick up the affinity for "less is more" and an appreciation for things that last.  I mean.  Europe is old in ways that Americans cannot wrap out heads around.  And someone, despite the density of the population (739,165,030 in 2011 United States roughly 311,590,000), they don't produce nearly as much waste as we do.  How is that?  My guess, the culture as a rough stereotype are less about their "stuff" and "convenience."

So somewhere around the age of 10 my kids get a bit of a speech.  And then I show them this:

from Wikipedia
The above is the remains of an albatross chick which most likely starved to death with its stomach full of plastic.  You can find out more on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Adam Pasick has a photo of a baby bird with its stomach filled with plastic on his site as well.  It is said 1/3 of the birds die from bellies full of plastic.

It was actually good for me to go on this rant with my son today because I've gotten lazy and allowed way too many juice boxes and bottles of water into our life recently and this was a sharp reminder that bottle caps are not recyclable.  Every picture I've ever seen of dead bird stomachs has more bottle caps than Barbie shoes.  But I can't help it, I still see every Barbie shoe, every Polly Pocket item, every piece of play jewelry, every Happy Meal Toy, or Kid's Meal toy, or plastic soldier, every bouncy ball, as a future baby bird killer.

We all have our things.  I won't eat chocolate because the BBC reports that child slavery is employed to harvest the cocoa beans.  And I try to purchase things made in the United States because I believe that our environmental laws and labor laws, while flawed, are preferable to some in countries producing the goods bought and sold in this country.  And I'm a back on the wagon about using the least amount of plastic possible.  So please, don't expect a bag full of dump plastic toys when your kid leaves my kid's birthday party.  And no I won't be bringing cupcakes with toys or jewelry on them into school.  Because I know my kid will be okay without that - and we are water fowl friendly.

There is a line in my favorite holiday song by the Bare Naked Ladies "Elves Lament"

You look at yourself
You're an elf
And the shelf is just filled with disappointing memories
Trends come and go, and your friends wanna know why you aren't just happy making crappy little gizmos
Every kid knows they'll just throw this stuff away

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My "Orvis Catalog Cover" shot

ok - Orvis hasn't used it, but don't you think this makes a nice cover? And KahnSol is sporting his Orvis collar with his name and phone number on it!

I took this shot for Molly's dad.  I wanted to give him some idea how big she was and he knows the big black dog so it would give him scale.  This is after swimming in the York River last weekend.


Yesterday Molly went into the Veterinarian for her spay surgery. I was a little worried last night when she didn't want her dinner, but she ate beautifully this morning. I did forget that the recovery for surgery is supposed to be 14 days. I haven't had a female dog before, so I didn't really think about. It is a full hysterectomy! Poor baby!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blue Skies & the York River

Last week in Virginia it rained, and it rained and it rained.  I felt rather stuck inside as my youngest wasn't feeling well and my sinuses were wrecking havoc.  Not being able to get the puppies out was tough.  Saturday and Sunday brought clear skies so on Sunday I drove over to my mother's neighborhood along the York River...

neighborhood dock on the York River, Virginia

really happy dogs!

sharing these blue skies with Smiling Sally on Blue Monday and a Southern Day Dreamer's Outdoor Wednesday

Smiling Sally

Morning out at York River State Park


Whenever I walk people say "you've sure got your hands full" which always makes me laugh, because maybe they see me with one or two kids (usually the young ones) and the older dog and a puppy. I rarely walk the puppies together because that IS asking for trouble. And I just smile and nod at the comment, but I'm usually thinking, you should see the whole crew! I know my oldest is going to take me to task for this picture. She has a mouth full of donut. But I love it. I love that she's got a donut and the dog with her is licking his lips! And the interaction between Dragon & Tiger and their dogs, and the way MLyons is holding onto Little Hawk and how Bitsy -ever the drama queen - is letting it be known that the sun is in her eyes and she's cold. Today was Martin Luther King day. I did not celebrate by offering a day of service as is suggested, however I did enjoy my morning out with my kids. Yay for holidays!

The York River State Park near Williamsburg Virginia is horse and dog (on leash) friendly.  Views of river & marsh and wooded trails as well as a walk along the river beach can be found here.  My kids have found fossils and sharks teeth along that beach.  I believe the policy is that you have to leave what you find so we always bring a digital camera to record their treasures.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Cabin Rug

We are very excited. We almost have a ski house in Wintergreen. No, it isn't the most amazing ski mountain on the East Coast, but it is the closest to our home and it has a ski team. So there you go. Plus the people we've met who are a part of that community are really cool.

Sometime this winter a friend handed me a bag of hand-me-down clothes. As a mom to 6 I never say no to the offer. Now, this particular person had simply cleaned out all the old clothes and put them into bags without sorting them at all. I dutifully went through "keep this" "goodwill this" and there were a few things that weren't wearable anymore. Goodwill says that they will send those to rag pickers to be used in furniture stuffing and what not - but inspiration struck. I could use these to make a rag rug. Yes, I know, L.L.Bean has rugs for sale at very reasonable prices *and* they are made in the United States. I heartily support this. On no, I'm not a professional crafter.  More of a bits and starts kind of a craft person.  But still, I wanted to try.

So in the evenings I've been stripping the clothes, and creating this long braid of red, and cranberry, and green, and chocolate, and grey...

  photo, I'm making a braided rag rug. This is my first attempt at a rag rug.

and this is what my efforts have lead to so far.
This week my husband decided to make some purchases in anticipation of our closing date on the house.  He was looking at rugs at L.L.Bean.  He bought one for the kitchen, and one for the great living room, and then asked what I'd like in our bedroom.  I teasingly asked him if he did not care for my rug.  He answered, "I like it very much but while you are standing on it with one foot where shall I stand?"

feetonrug, rag rug. yes I air brushed my beat up rugby legs - consider it a public service

So I would like to take a moment to point out that I can stand on it with two feet thank you very much.  And I'm in desperate need of a pedicure, perhaps he can keep an eye on the children while I attend to this matter.

photo-2, I got started on the rug, and then I found this pillow at I love the pillow.  I'm a chocolate brown and red person.  So now I'm working more chocolate into the rug...

More to the point.  I found this pillow at  and recently Orvis held a large sale and so I purchased this pillow for like $18.  I bought it because the colors are exactly what I want in my room in the mountains.  The chocolate is fabulously warm.  The rug works with the pillow, all those reds and cranberries, and greens and blues.  Yummy.

We will be eating off a folding table for who knows how long because my husband has decided to make the dining room table. (He has mad carpentry skills but he has no time.)  So if I'm willing to wait for a table, and willing to believe in good faith that said table will in fact be made.  Why can't he wait for a rug?  So peeps, the race is on.  This little rug needs to be a big rug before the man finishes his table. Shared:

Friday, January 18, 2013

A touch of snow

January 2013, Colonial Williamsburg

Caroline Cucuel shared this on Facebook today. What a beautiful shot of Williamsburg with a light dusting of snow!
off the back deck, Dec 26th 2012
I find myself up against a wall right now.  Fighting for opportunities, trying to keep the pessimists from winning, keeping doors open.

"If you aren't ready for the miracle, or magic, or opportunity, or whatever you want to call it, when it finally breaks through it is wasted.  Be ready.  Don't waste miracles."

I keep saying that over and over and over.

And then I keep saying to myself, stop and be grateful for what you have. Because I am so rich. In experiences, in love, in family, and even in things.

I am trying to find a way to let my oldest live on a mountain.  I think it is crazy that I am married to a man who picked me out a crowd one night because I knew what a ski racing turn should look/sound like, and that 18 years into our marriage we still live in a swamp, nearest snow with any vertical (minimal vertical) is 2.5 hours away and I am currently battling the High School to allow my daughter to move a test so that she can fly out West for a long weekend to ski and check out a ski school.  A ski school which has my husband hyperventilating because as blessed as we are we cannot afford it.  But if she doesn't apply then it won't matter if the miracle happens and the bonus comes through or we make the extra sales because she wasn't in position to benefit.  For 10 years I've been saying we have to move before she's in High School.  And she's in High School.  And we are still here.

So I find myself standing on the back deck looking into the Sunset saying "Thank you for everything. I really am grateful.  But I need one more thing..."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ski Season is in full swing

Tiger in SL at Massanutten VA

K in GS at Massanutten VA

SARA (Southern Alpine Racing Association) We ski with the Wintergreen Ski Team out of Wintergreen Virginia, not far from Charlottesville.  Thanks to PurpleSage at SMUGMUG for the photos!