Monday, June 18, 2018

The Little Foxes of Marble Mountain

These two look like "book ends" or mirror images. (All photos by Anthony Benson.) *
On my May trip to Marble Mountain, my son-in-law Anthony accompanied me.  He proved to be a terrific traveling companion, not the least because he is an expert photographer.   And upon our arrival we learned that a litter of eight foxes was being raised in a den under the unoccupied Catholic church in the village.  The baby foxes with their adorable antics proved to be a perfect subject for Anthony's photography on this trip.
The Catholic church in the village is not used.  There's not a sufficient congregation in the area. 

The entrance to the den under the back of the church. 
Although folks in the village confirmed there were eight in the litter, we only saw four out at the same time, and usually there would be maybe one or two.
Four at play.  

The foxes seemed to be accustomed to a car driving up and people watching them from a distance.
First they would stick their head out to see if the coast was clear, and then they would venture out. 
  Is it safe to came out?
Staying close to the entrance to the den. 

Wondering "Who are you?"
The mother fox and the father fox were always close by and were keeping check on their pups.
Papa fox keeping check.  
Mama fox checking out what's going on. 
Eventually the foxes would engage in playful activities, just like little dogs. 

I named this one Forrest as in "Run Forrest Run!."  
I can't wait until we return next May, because I know that foxes often use the same den for raising their pups year after year. Maybe there will be a litter under the church next year.  I hope Anthony will be along and that he will have his camera ready.

*Many thanks to Anthony Benson for accompanying me on this trip and for these exceptional photographs. 


Friday, June 8, 2018

Gadding About with the Ridge Rovers


I happened to be in Cleveland County recently when the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Seniors were planning a trip to Strawberry Hill in Chesnee, South Carolina, and my friend PJ invited me to go.  It's always fun to go with the Ridge Rovers as the Pleasant Ridge Seniors are known.
The bus. 
Pat (left) and PJ perusing the menu.

My friend Sue was along.
The menu. 
It's not surprising that the first sandwich selection on the menu was a Bologna Sandwich, and the last time I had that sandwich was as a child.  For old times sake that's what I ordered, and because I was ravenous it tasted pretty darn good (actually I'm not a fan of bologna.)
Bologna sandwich with mayo, mustard, and slaw. 
Across the road from the restaurant tractors pulling trailers loaded with strawberries were bringing in the morning's bounty. 
A really full gallon of strawberries.  
There were zucchini and squash fresh from the field as well.
After loading our purchases, we went back across the road to the restaurant for our dessert.  My choice fresh strawberry ice cream.  Delish!
It was a perfect day to enjoy the morning with the Ridge Rovers. I even threatened to climb aboard a John Deere for a photo, but I was strongly encouraged to just stand in front. 


I'd enjoyed Strawberry Hill vicariously in the past, but it was fun to experience it in person, and it was especially enjoyable to visit with friends of Pleasant Ridge.  Taking home fresh strawberries just picked from the field wasn't bad either.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Iris, Kate and the House

Copy of photo of original house. (Photo provided by Iris.)
One of the highlights of our recent trip to Canada was a visit with my friend Iris and her daughter Kate at the old house they are restoring/renovating.  Iris inherited the 160 + year old house from her uncle, and it is the house that her grandfather built and where he raised his children, including Iris' father.
Iris (left) and Kate prepared to do some demolishing. (Selfie by Kate.)
Iris and Kate are working on this project in their spare time---evenings and weekends---but they are making amazing progress.  Iris is a master carpenter who built her own house, but is working in another job now. However,  her carpentry skills are vital to this renovation.  If Kate lives in this house when it's finished she will be the fourth generation to occupy it.

The house had been recently wired and a new furnace installed when Iris inherited it.  First Iris tackled the kitchen, and here are before and after photos.
Kitchen part way through the renovation.  (Photo by Kate.)
The renovated kitchen with table, antique chairs, and vintage tablecloth.  Iris usually has flowers in her house. 
Tulips on the table. 
The white walls and trim make the kitchen warm and bright.  Many of the items they have added to the house have been things that folks had discarded.  The china cabinet was yellow originally, but after a primer coat of white it was painted a deep blue-black to match the cabinets.  Lovely.


Primed
Finished (Photo by Anthony Benson.)

The kitchen sink was another cast off that Iris found.

A tin ceiling covers a hole that was left when the original wood stove was removed and reflects heat back from the new stove.  Brilliant!
Tin ceiling covers a hole and reflects heat back from the new wood stove. 
Kate added her touch with a collection of blue and white dishes on one wall to complement the blue/white theme elsewhere. 
A touch of blue in the kitchen window. 
Blue and white dish towels. 
This door will lead from the kitchen to a future bathroom.  

Click this link to see 360 degree view of the kitchen *


An upstairs bedroom is almost complete. 
More of Kate's dishes above the bed.  
Some kind of laminate was added years ago to the windows of the door from the hall into the bedroom.  It looks as if the laminate would have given the impression of stained glass windows if you notice the edges where it is not weathered.  They are beautiful even with the weathering. 
Click this link to view 360 degree view of bedroom*

Iris' husband Glen cleared a lot of trees and bush to make a view of the lake from the front porch and
windows.  Now  there is a beautiful view from the windows when one awakes.
View before bush cleared. (Photo by Kate.)
Cleared meadow and view of lake beyond.  
Currently Iris is enclosing the front porch with windows to create a sunroom.
Iris working on windows for enclosed front porch.  (Photo by Kate.)

I'll be eager to see how much they have done when I return in late summer.

*360 panorama by Anthony Benson.






Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gadding About at UNC Graduation for Class of 2018

The procession of graduates. 
My oldest grandson, Zach, graduated from UNC today, and I was there to celebrate.  It was a horribly hot day, but his grandfather and I made our way over early and managed to get a seat that remained in the shade for the entire program.  
A sea of Carolina Blue. 

Sitting in the shade. 

After the commencement, we walked over to the DKE House where we enjoyed a fine lunch. 
Zach on the left with his brothers Tyler (middle) and Brooks.

Granddaughter Grace. 

My first born son Michael, father of the graduate. 

The siblings in front of DKE House. 

Michael and Meredith with their four kids. 
One down, three to go.  Michael and Meredith (both graduates of UNC where they met) have done a great job rearing those grands.