Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Archive for June, 2011

The Invaders, The Second Installment

Just a little update on our pesky bee problem here at the cabin.  I know y’all are just dying to know about all this fun and interesting stuff!

Mountain Man decided that yesterday was going to be “lets kill the bees day” here.  Well, in all fairness, yesterday had to be “lets kill the bees day”.  Who knows just how emotionally, and possibly physically, scarred I mighta been had another one of those gargantuan bees made their way through the vents and into the bathroom with me during another one of my somewhat obsessive tooth brushing sessions.  (That’s a story for another time.)

So, after some assessment and preparation on Mountain Man’s part, the killing commenced.  And I must say, it was an emotional roller coaster for me.  I tried my best to help.  I offered up my services willingly and was ready for battle in whatever way Mountain Man might need me.  But nothing could prepare me for what took place last night upstairs in our bathroom.  I went from borderline hysterics when one of the monsters flew in the open window, to uproarious laughter upon seeing the contraption that my Mountain Man came up with to finally get rid of those obscenely large buzzing bees.  Not to mention the extra layer of protective clothing that my son came upstairs wearing which consisted of a pair of jogging pants, a sweatshirt, gloves, a bandana wrapped around his face up to his eyeballs, a boggin on his head, and a pair of sunglasses.  I think I mighta peed a little at one point!  And the really funny part, he was just there to watch!  Bless his heart…

I took a few photos with my cell phone during this perilous event here on the mountain.  I wish I could’ve gotten better shots and especially some before shots and maybe even a good pic of one of the bees while they were still alive, but this was a serious matter we were dealing with here.  We’re talking life or death!!!  Well, maybe not life or death in the literal sense, but it was pretty dang nerve wracking, to say the least!

The hole where the light/vent/heat used to be, strategically sealed off with a clear trash bag and Tyvek tape.

The greatest invention of our time, courtesy of Mountain Man. Who knew a fly swat could be so versatile?

Mountain Man, fully suited up, going in for the kill!

A few of the casualties from this hard fought battle with the giant bees. I can't even imagine how many more corpses are in the vent pipe that leads outside.

I hate that I didn’t have the forethought to bring the camera upstairs with me to document this war against the flying, stinging monsters.  The pictures from my cell phone are pretty fuzzy, but you get the general idea.  The bees fought a good fight, but in the end, Mountain Man and his ingenious invention came out victorious, and because of his valiant efforts, I lived to write another day.

The Invaders

Have you ever felt like someone, or something, was watching you?  Living up here in the cabin there’s always some form of wildlife watching.  The deer, the occasional bear, a stray snake, raccoons, the moths trying in vain to get into the house thru the open windows and doors, and we can’t forget Max, the dog.  You’d think I’d be used to being watched by now, but last night was pretty darn freaky.

Most people have had at least one run in with the invader I failed to mention in the previous list.  Whether you live in the woods, or the country, or near the ocean, or in the city, just about everybody out there has had to battle bees.  And we’re definitely no different.  In our upstairs bathroom, the light/vent/heater in the ceiling has become a party hole for a bunch of bees!  They’ve been buzzing around up in the vent pipe for quite some time now, but we just thought they were flying in there and then getting stuck and buzzing around until they died.  Evidently, we were wrong.

Last night when I went up to brush my teeth, I noticed the incessant buzzing and what can only be described as a strange munching sound, was much louder.  Upon further inspection, I noticed there was a bee corpse hanging out of one of the small slits for the air to flow thru.   Then, after I climbed up on the toilet for a closer look, I saw them.  There they were, little bee legs darting in and out of the vent holes at a rapid pace.  Absolutely one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen in the house!  And we’re not talking little bees here, either.  These dang things have bodies that are about an inch long and they’re about as big around as my pinky finger!  They’re huge!!!

Since it was almost midnight, and Mountain Man had to work today, he shut the door and left the light on all night long to try to roast the pesky little invaders.  It must have worked on most of them, ’cause I haven’t heard any buzzing or strange munching sounds all day.

Still, I feel like I need to proceed with caution whenever I go into that bathroom.  I’m telling ya, these bees are big enough to carry me off if they ever decided to band together!

Growing Up

My baby is growing up on me and I’m not sure I’m gonna survive it.  I guess it’s kinda silly to refer to someone who’s almost 6ft tall, wears a size 13 shoe, and practices driving down the driveway as a baby, but to me, he’ll always be my cute little blue eyed, blonde haired, bouncing baby boy.  Even if he is almost 14!

This revelation of him becoming an adult has been coming for quite some time now, but it’s really started becoming more and more evident over this past week.  With one little change in a routine that has never faltered in his 13 years and 8 months on this earth, my world has fallen too pieces.  And honestly, I just don’t know if I’m gonna make it through this.

For you see, my baby has got up and went to bed on three different nights this past week without giving me, his Mama, a goodnight hug and a kiss.  Whaaaaaaaa!  It’s absolutely broke my heart, as any mother of a teenager can relate to, I’m sure!  The first night it happened, I just kinda sat there stunned for a minute or two and commented on it to Mountain Man and really thought nothing more of it.  Until it happened again the next night.  I seriously almost lost it at that point!  I could feel the tears stinging my eyes and I couldn’t understand, momentarily, what in the name of all that is Holy was going on!

Then, after I pulled myself together and thought about it, it occurred to me that my baby is probably getting to the age where he’s starting to feel like he’s too old to be hugging and kissing on his Mama.  Wait a minute…  What!!!!  You’re NEVER too old to hug and kiss on your Mama!  I wanted to tell him this, but I held it in and bit my tongue, for I know all too well that this is just a normal part of growing up and that it happens to everyone.  He’ll find his way back to hugging his Mama after all those pesky teenage hormones and changes pass.

And don’t worry ’bout me.  I’ll sneak my hugs and kisses in at other times.  And on the days that I can’t, I’ll just climb up on Mountain Man’s lap and let him hug and kiss on me ’till it’s all better again.

Steel Magnolias

I don’t consider myself to be a tv person.  You know the type.  Their television is always on and they’re always watching something.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  To each his own.  I’m just more of a music person, myself.  But there are certain things that come on that I cannot pass up.  Even if I’ve already seen it a million times and I own the movie playing on television and can watch it any ol time I want.  This morning, while flipping thru the channels, I happened upon one of my absolute favorites of all time and I just couldn’t resist.

Now most of you ladies out there will emphatically agree with me on this particular one.  Even if you’re like me and you don’t consider yourself to be a girly girl, this movie crosses boundaries and unites us women in such a manner that only we can understand.

I was only 11 years old when this movie came out and even at that young age, Steel Magnolias had a profound impact on me.  Shelby, M’Lynn, Truvy, Ouiser, Clairee, and Annelle have all came into my life at different points over the years and I find that I have been able to relate to all of them at different stages along the way.

I can remember watching this movie with my Mama and my Granny when I was little and I can remember watching them while it was playing and seeing the different expressions on their faces and the different emotions that they expressed while watching.  They’d go from laughing hysterically to crying unabashedly, no matter who just happened to be in the room.  And if you know my Mama and my Granny, you know they don’t do that sort of thing in front of just anybody!

I can also remember crying myself at that young age when Shelby dies in the end and even more so at her funeral when M’Lynn finally loses it.  It was as if someone I knew personally had died.  But just as soon as the tears had started, the laughter took over when Clairee offers up Ouiser for M’Lynn to hit so she’d feel better.  If you’ve not seen the movie, you won’t understand.  If you’re a man, you still might not understand.

I think I’ve probably watched this movie at least once a year ever since that first viewing all those years ago, and each time I find something different that appeals to me and speaks to me.  At times, I’ve found that I’ve related to Shelby and her ever positive outlook on life and all the troubles that can rear their ugly heads on you.  At other times, I’ve related to Clairee and her ever graceful attitude.  Annelle’s struggles with right and wrong always tickles me.  Truvy was always one of my favorites with her gossiping, yet always helpful ways.  M’Lynn’s strength and fierceness has always touched me.  That love that only a Mother can possess.  And who can forget Ouiser and her grumpy, yet lovable demeanor.  I’ve loved ’em all over the years.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the profound affect that watching this movie always has on me.  No matter where I’m at in my life or what’s going on at that moment, seeing this story unfold, even though I know what’s gonna happen, always stirs something deep within me and leaves me feeling better, hopeful even, about my own life that’s playing out daily in front of me.  Watching Steel Magnolias is like having a soothing salve rubbed over the wounds of daily living.  It makes it all better.

Power’s Out… Again…

You know, living way up here in the cabin, off away from everybody else in the free world, can be a challenge from time to time.  However, in my time up here, we’ve never encountered anything that we couldn’t handle, especially with Mountain Man around to constantly save the day.  I swear, he’s a Godsend!  But these past couple of weeks, we’ve been plagued with power flickers and outages almost every single day.  It’s not really been anything too terribly awful, just inconvenient more than anything.

Like today, for example, it went out just as I had finished vacuuming, (that doesn’t look like it’s spelled right,) upstairs.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.  It was lunch time and I was starving!  Well, not really starving, but I was pretty darn famished.  Thankfully, it was only out for about 20 minutes or so this time and I was able to find something to sustain me while I waited.

Last night, we were watching tv and it went out.  Thank goodness Swamp People was over or else I mighta let a few obscenities slip.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I think I still let a few come barreling right outta my mouth.  Anyone who knows me personally will totally understand this phenomenon.  It’s just who I am and I make no apologies for it.

But anyway, I think the worst part about all these dang power outages is having to reset all of the clocks… multiple times… everyday.  A smart person might just let ’em alone and not worry about the flashing nuisances that keep beckoning you to look at them every single time you walk by one of them.  But, no, no, no, no, no.  Not me.  I’m evidently not one of the smart ones, ’cause I have to reset them each and every time or else they drive me nuts!

I know, there’s something terribly wrong with me.  And for that, I will apologize.  Again, thanks for being patient with me.  I’m a work in progress.

He Was a Big ‘Un!!!

I’m convinced that the government is conducting some sort of strange experiment involving those pesky little winged spawns of which I’ve written about in the past.  I know that we’ve never had this many flying insects in these mountains before in all my years of living here.  At first, I thought I was just imagining all the extra activity going on outside that required either, a) hunkering down inside and hiding from all the little winged spawns, or, b) spraying a shiny, thick, stinky layer insect repellent on all exposed, and some not so exposed, areas.  But, after much deliberation and thought on the matter, I’m going with the government experiment theory.

My son and I were driving home last night just after dark and I personally think we both witnessed history.  Something neither one of us has ever before seen.  And I don’t think either of us will ever be the same again.

First of all, we had to drive around, and through, one of the worst thunderstorms I think I’ve ever encountered in my life.  We were a long way from the sanctuary of our little cabin here on the mountain and were in the somewhat flat lands of a nearby county, and let me tell ya, when they get a storm warning down there, it’s not to be taken lightly.  It was absolutely amazing!  We could see the lightning shooting out of the black thunderheads out of the side windows of my little car as we were driving along and we were racing to get ahead of the storm.  The sky started turning that eerie green color that only happens when the conditions are just right for a tornado and my son is sitting next to me, visibly shaken and telling me to drive faster.  I don’t think he’s ever actually seen weather like this in real life and he was more than a little freaked out by the whole thing.

I wasn’t tore up too awful bad ’cause I’ve seen some pretty nasty storms in my day.  Wow, “in my day”.  How old does that make me sound!!!  Nevertheless, I was starting to get a little worried when the trees lining the highway started swaying unnaturally and bowing way too close to the ground.  So, onward we traveled in the blinding rain, with the radio blaring my newly acquired 80’s playlist and my poor son in the passenger seat trying to act cool.  Bless his little heart.  I hate I didn’t have my camera with me to capture all of this, but I’m sure he’s glad I didn’t.

The storm had let up when we finally got closer to home and turned down a familiar country road that I’ve driven both in the daytime and at night quite a bit and that’s when we were completely blown away again.  Now everyone who’s ever driven a back country road after dark in the summer can attest to the sheer volume of bugs that lose their lives by splattering into the front of your vehicle and especially your windshield.  And I personally think the really big ones know exactly when you’re just about out of washer fluid and they aim right smack in the middle of your line of sight on the windshield.  But honest to goodness, last night was a sight to behold.

And keep in mind folks, I worked 3rd shift for 4 years and had to drive at night in all sorts of conditions, but this beat anything I’ve ever seen.  The bugs were so thick at certain points in our journey home that it looked like it was snowing!  My son commented that it looked like we were driving through space!  It’s a good thing he recently filled my washer fluid in the car, ’cause I couldn’t go more than a few hundred feet without having to clean off the windshield!  It was absolutely awful.  I swear I think I heard some of ’em go splat as they hit!  I almost felt as though my son and I should have a moment of silence when we finally made it home to acknowledge all the tiny corpses on the car.

Whatever the reason for all these winged demons out there this year, I certainly hope that this is a one time occurrence and that next year, things will go back to normal.  Perhaps I should just get out on that country road every night and tackle the problem head on.  Nah, gas is too high for that kind of approach.

*Just to show you one of the more intriguing winged specimens, I’m sharing this pic with you that I took late last night.  Mountain Man called me downstairs to show me this beauty and we were both just mystified by how stinkin’ big this thing is.  He didn’t have antennae of his head, he had freakin’ feathers!  Honest to goodness feather looking things were sticking out of this thing’s head just above his beady little eyes!  And not only was he big, he was kinda dumb, too.  Bless his heart.  We tapped the glass and Mountain Man even touched it with the door and the poor thing stayed right there.  He barely moved at all.  So, we decided that he was either in stealth camo mode and thought he was on a tree, or he was a mentally challenged bug and he’s resorted to licking the glass.  🙂

We used Mountain Man's wonderfully sexy manly hand as a reference to show just how big this thing is!

Ahhh, Bread. How Do I Love Thee?

There is absolutely no better smell in the world than that of warm, crusty bread wafting from the oven.  Well, maybe homemade cookies, or brownies, or cakes or, oh, never mind.  You get the point.  Home baked goodies are absolutely divine!  But homemade bread… absolutely heavenly!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a bread snob.  I like just about any kind of bread I can get my hands on.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy or even healthy.  After all, who doesn’t like a piece of plain white bread or, good ‘ol light bread, as we like to call it down here in the South?  It may not be the best thing in the world to eat, health wise, but by-gosh, it’s pretty darn tasty!

I’ve made different varieties of breads for quite a while now, mostly sweet, desert type breads.  And believe me, those loaves are the stuff that our thighs warn us not to eat.  Sinfully good!  I’m talking two people, (I won’t name any names,) could easily knock out one loaf in less than 30 minutes if left alone with one of these beauties.  However, these are not the loaves I’m referring to today.  Today, I’m talking about just plain ol sammy bread.  But let me tell ya, when it’s homemade, it’s never just plain ol anything!

Once I moved up to the cabin, roughly 35 minutes from the nearest grocery store, I realized it might be a good idea to be a little more self-sufficient when it comes to one of the holy trinities of grocery store items for winter time: bread, milk and eggs.  It may not be winter up here anymore, but it’s still nice to be able to whip up a couple of loaves of bread instead of having to run out to the store and buy ’em.

Plus, the huge bonus, for me anyway, bread just tastes so much better when you bake it yourself.  I like to think it’s ’cause of all the love I put into it.  Makes me smile on the inside just a little.

So, anyway, I spent last night baking bread for my little family.  And as usual, it turned out wonderfully yummy.  I highly recommend trying this at least once in your lifetime.  It’ll make your soul sing.  I guarantee it!

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