Monday, December 21, 2009

The Snowy View from Our Place

This first day of Winter finds us still snowed in at the house. The sun is out, but I expect the piles of snow will take a while to melt away. Once it warms up a bit, we are headed to the bottom of the driveway to see if we can shovel a path for the truck to get out. The picture below shows the gravel part down to Highway 80 which has been clear since Saturday afternoon. We'll have to clear away the ice and snow that the snow plows left at the edge of the road.

Turn around and starting at the bottom of the driveway, we're going to have to clear much of the area in the foreground down to the gravel section. Unfortunately, this is where the wind whips through, and the drifts tend to deepen. The snow is nearly covering my "Parking Up Hill At Gallery" sign. There is no parking up the hill today.

Around the bend the truck awaits rescue from its snowy hell.

It's a long, moderately steep driveway covered by trees. It's way too much to shovel, and we're not sure how long it will take to melt enough for me to get the car out. Jay has to work, so I might be stuck at home until later in the week.

This little magnolia in the side yard seems to be the only casualty. It just couldn't bear the weight of the snow. I love magnolias, but this one was scrawny and had only a couple of blossoms each year. Perhaps this is not the climate for them. We found a bunny hole with some tracks, the only tracks we found besides Tinkerbell's. She hasn't found the bunnies yet, although she did catch a cardinal yesterday.

"I'm gonna put a bell around that cats neck. So when you hear him comin' you can grab all of your loved ones and get your lil' bunny asses runnin." from "Warning" by Keller Williams

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Who Needs Chains or Snow Tires?

I know our friends in Northern Virginia are not impressed with the foot of snow we got here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but this has been our first big snow since moving here last year. I got my holiday packages mailed off and the fridge stocked Thursday afternoon before the storm hit. I was prepared at the house, but Jay's project in Marshall necessitated him getting to work Friday and Sunday. Not to worry, snow travel is not my area of expertise.

Friday travel was impossible, but we got our 4WD truck down the hill Saturday, only to have Jay bring it nearly back to the top that afternoon. He was concerned that the snow would drift over it overnight. It was backing up nicely, and then he hit a slick, pitched part of the driveway and slid the passenger wheels right off and into a brick lightpost, which thankfully kept the sucker from rolling down the mountain. Jay is unimpressed with the 4WD capabilities of this truck and is dearly missing his Trooper.
After a fair amount of shovelling over the past 2 days and a great tug from the van (she still has a little life left in her), we unstuck the truck. The truck has a dent in the side and is completely blocking the driveway, but it's not like we're going to take the Prius of the motorcycle anywhere. Job well done, now where is my Advil and beer?

The learning curve has been pretty steep this weekend, but we're stocked with food, propane and beer. We're only missing some good friends and a good round of Hand and Foot.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Which One of These is Not Like the Others?

What makes these vehicles alike is that they all belong to us. Their differences are many however...

The black car is our newly purchased '07 Prius to replace the ailing van which has not moved since returning from a slow trip home early last week after the transmission got stuck in third. The pick-up (our 4WD) blew a rear brake seal and dumped a bunch of brake fluid on the driveway last night, hence it's rear-end in the garage (note the blue tarp across the opening so Jay doesn't get snowed on).

The van will be leaving us soon enough, and for the rest of the winter, I'm the proud driver of "Big Bertha". Next time I want to pick my own car.

Etsy Sale in time for Christmas

I have added even more pottery to my Etsy site, and everything is still 10% off until December 24. I ship USPO Priority daily, so you can still get items for Christmas. If you want something shipped faster please "convo" me on Etsy. The Post Office is 2 miles down the road, so I can ship nearly anytime.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Updating Etsy

After a long hiatus, I am loading up my Etsy Gallery with pottery. Everything is 10% off until December 24. So far, I have only heart bowls, but vases and wine coasters will go on today, then my cut up pots. I really need a creative name for them.

In other news, my van breathed its last sigh yesterday. The transmission got stuck in third while we were on our way to Ben's eye appointment in Asheville. Jay met me in Mars Hill, and we got it home, slowly, but alas, I must car shop this week. He's nearly certain that it's not worth fixing. Before he could look at the van though, he had to put his worn out chain back on the motorcycle and replace the belt tensioner in the truck.

So now, the van occupies the same spot that the Trooper vacated only last week after we had it towed away. It had been sitting since March when it blew a head gasket. I think Jay's daily 100+ mile round-trip commute is taking its toll on the vehicles.
So my job today (along with posting more pots on Etsy), is to procure financing and visit local car dealers. Jay would never agree to a brand new vehicle, but, as much as he hates a car payment, I think he'll go for something that he can spend more time driving than climbing underneath. I'll bet he wouldn't mind something that is more of a babe magnet than a gold minivan. And afterall, it is December. A little cold for even Jay to truly enjoy motorcycle commuting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

TRAC Studio Tour this weekend

Don't let snow warnings scare you! Us mountainfolk are so nice, we'll help tow your car out or just put you up for the night! Over 100 artists in Yancey and Mitchell counties in Western North Carolina are opening their studios for you to visit. The Tour runs Friday 12-4, Saturday and Sunday 10-5. It's a terrific opportunity to buy local, handmade artwork and meet the artists who create that work. Read more about the Studio Tour at and come to the Artists' Reception tonight from 5-8 at the TRAC Gallery in Spruce Pine.

I've got lots of new baskets, several that I just unloaded this morning. I've also got hot mulled apple cider or pinot noir that you can sip from my handmade cups. Snack on crackers with basil and red pepper dip or cookies. I'm headed into the kitchen to whip up some hot artichoke dip. Come on out! The fun contunues all weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back from Vacation and ready for the Studio Tour

After the rain has fallen...we were graced with a double rainbow yesterday afternoon. Glorious.

Cone 7 finally fell last night around 11:00. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I chose to candle in the morning and fire in the afternoon into the evening. It worked out as planned. I even timed taking my nighttime cold meds as cone 5 fell knowing I had only another hour or so before shutting the kiln off. How's that for planning?

I'm usually a sneaky peeker, but I'm just going to wait until Friday morning to unload. Did I mention that I am an early riser?

We spent Thanksgiving week with good friends in Nag's Head, our yearly tradition including the delectable grilled turkey. The ocean breezes helped the grill work like a convection oven and the 21 pounder was done in 3 hours. I think my pumpkin cheesecake took longer to cook. If you've never tried turkey on the grill, this one is awesome. We make it again for Christmas so I'll post a recipe next week. It is so yummy.

This year's storm hit a week prior so while we didn't have to live through the terror (like in 2006), we got to walk the beach and gawk at the decks, overwalks and even a pool or 2 destroyed by Nor'Ida. I don't think I would want the stress of owning a beachfront property.

The weather was so great that the kids spent the first few days on the beach making a fort of various debris they collected. The van was packed so full of food and beer that there was no room for toys.

Little did I know that less than a mile up the road was Clay Club's John Britt, staying at the Comfort Inn. He would have been a welcome addition to Happy Hour, doo-rags were optional.

So, I'm nearly done prepping for the TRAC Studio Tour this weekend. I'm off to ship a pot to a show in Knoxville, get change and new coats for the kids. 70% chance of heavy accumulation Saturday might dampen visitors, but I love to see how happy snow makes my kids.