Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘Mountain Man’

Sunday Morning Routines

Sunday mornings around the cabin are, for the most part, pretty laid back.  They’re usually planned around a football game or a NASCAR race, depending on what time of year it is.  We don’t really follow any sort of strict guidelines for getting things done on this most sacred of days.  We just kinda roll with it and go with the flow and somehow, miraculously in the end, we get everything done that needs to get done.

Going back to work has presented new challenges for me.  I’m a planner and Mountain Man is not.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just don’t operate very well on a willy-nilly schedule.  He, on the other hand, thrives on it.  The funny thing about his methods that has always surprised me is that he never, ever gets in a hurry, but he always finishes whatever it is he sets out to do.  It’s just always done in his own sweet time.  He doesn’t get stressed out, he doesn’t get spastic, he doesn’t lose his cool.  He just works at his own pace and it all comes together exactly how he intends for it to.

As I already said, I’m a planner.  I like schedules.  I like routines.  They make my inner psyche less psychotic.  I like to know that I’m gonna be doing this chore on this day of the week at this time of day.  I like knowing that on this particular day of the week, I’m gonna strip the linens off our bed, get ’em in the wash, and then remake the bed with freshly laundered sheets that smell just heavenly and make me wanna sink down as deep as I can get into our bed at the end of the day and just breathe in the freshness.  Have I mentioned that one of my favorite little things in this life is a freshly made bed with clean linens?

I think I might’ve gotten off topic there.  Oops.  Sorry.  That’s gonna happen from time to time.

Sunday mornings.  Oh yeah, that’s where I was.  Anyway, we’ve recently added another thing to our Sunday routine here at the cabin.  I’m cheap and I think Mountain Man has a tendency to wanna save money, too.  I don’t wanna call him cheap because I’m not sure if he’d take that as a compliment or an insult.  But me, I’m definitely cheap.  I rarely ever buy anything unless it’s on sale and even then, it’s gotta be one heck of a sale for me to fork over the cash.  So with all my cheapness and Mountain Man’s love of saving money, we buy two Sunday papers every week and we each take one and clip coupons while we’re watching football or a race.  After all the other chores that we take care of on Sunday mornings, by the time we get around to clipping coupons, it’s actually nice to just sit together and do this little chore.

Sometimes, we don’t even speak.  We just sit there and clip together.  And for us, it works.  It’s not that we never do anything exciting or spontaneous, but I think he and I are a lot alike in that we’re both creatures of habit and we both like knowing that our significant other can handle just sitting in a room with one another, doing absolutely nothing, and be blissfully happy.

Some couples do date nights.  Some meet each other for lunch through the week.   Mountain Man and I, we spend quality time together whenever we can.  Even if it’s over two Sunday papers, two pairs of scissors, and pile of coupons.

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Aggravation

How many of you out there have people in your lives that you absolutely must deal with, but would really rather not?  Those people who you must have contact with, whether it’s on a daily basis or a once in a blue moon basis, who always, always, always manage to rub you the wrong way.  I don’t have many of these burdens, but I do have a few.

I’m really, really, really trying to grow as a human being and learn not to let people get to me or steal my joy.  I’ve read lots of books and listened to lots of different people hand out advice about how to deal with the less savory individuals out there in the world.  But, try as I may, there’s still a few out there that leave me gnashing my teeth and wondering just exactly what lottery in Hell I was fortunate enough to win.

Mountain Man, God love his soul, has really tried to show me the path to peace and harmony when dealing with off-putting individuals.  Not only does he usually know exactly what to say in any given situation, he also usually knows when I just need a hug to make all the madness go away.  No matter how mad I am, or how hurt I am, he can wrap those big, strong arms of his around me and I just melt, along with all the day’s troubles.  He always brings me back to center.  Always.

So, for all the people out there that never fail to crawl up under my skin and wiggle on my last nerve, I say bring it on!  Sure, you’re still gonna aggravate me and cause profanities to spew forth from my mouth like water from a fire hydrant, but I’ve got something that you, dear annoying, aggravating person, don’t have.  I’ve got perpetual hope and faith in myself that I’ll eventually get to a point where you no longer bother me.

AND, I have Mountain Man!

Biscuits

I loves me some biscuits.  Loves might even be an understatement.  In my opinion, there are few culinary delights in life that can compare with a piping hot homemade biscuit, right outta the oven, split open with a big smear of butter melting into the heavenly little fluffy nooks and crannies.  Mmmm.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.  I can almost taste it.

I know I’ve raved about Mountain Man’s culinary abilities before, but I think his biscuits rank right up there on my list of favorite things he can whip up.  Honestly, they’re to die for.  And crumbled up on a plate underneath a big heaping helping of his sausage gravy is my favorite way to enjoy these delectable little morsels.

As much as I love biscuits, I’m ashamed to admit that last night was my very first attempt, ever in my life, to make biscuits from scratch.  This, to me, is just a disgrace, considering I’m from the South!  I’m not real sure why I’ve never made homemade biscuits.  I make homemade bread all the time.  Really, when I think about it, there’ s no plausible explanation for all these years spent buying canned and frozen biscuits.

Mountain Man’s approach to cooking is much different from mine.  He’s one of these let’s throw a little of this and a dash of that in the pot, and it always comes out tasting like something I can only hope they’ll be serving in Heaven once I get there.  Me, not so much.  I’m a recipe kinda gal.  If I have a recipe, I can usually make whatever it is I’m attempting.  Unless of course, I don’t have the necessary ingredients, and if you know me at all, you know I won’t realize I’m missing said ingredients until after I’ve already started making whatever it is I’m attempting to make.

Last night, I lucked out.  I had a Paula Deen recipe for biscuits and I had all the necessary ingredients.  And of course, I didn’t check before I started.  Now, these biscuits were totally different from Mountain Man’s.  He uses shortening in his biscuits, mine called for butter.  He free forms his, I rolled mine out and cut ’em with a glass.  He bakes his on a sheet pan, I put mine in a cast iron skillet.  Something, by the way, that I’d never seen or heard of before.

My biscuits looked so pretty once I got ’em in the buttered pan.  I was really proud of the way they’d turned out so far.  Of course, I hadn’t baked them yet.  God only knew what they were actually gonna look and taste like once they came out of the oven.  They took a lot longer to bake than I had anticipated, but after what seemed like forever, they were finally done.

They looked a lot different than the giant, fluffy mounds Mountain Man bakes up that I’ve become accustomed to eating.  They were flatter, denser.  They had a little crunch on the bottom that I’m assuming came from the generous coating of butter on the bottom of the cast iron pan and the little nooks and crannies on the inside weren’t nearly as heavenly or fluffy, therefore not nearly as accepting of the big smear of butter I like to put in my split, hot outta the oven biscuits.

All in all though, they weren’t too bad.  For my very first made from scratch biscuits, they weren’t too bad at all.  Mountain Man thinks they might even make better vehicles for his sausage gravy than his yummy, fluffy biscuits.  I totally do not agree with this, but I understand his reasoning behind it.  I guess we’ll have to test that theory, hopefully sometime in the very near future.

The Mountain and The Rest Of The World

Not a lot of people like winter around here.  Most of them actually hate this time of year.  Even if they think the snow is pretty to look at, they hate having to navigate the winding mountain roads when the weather’s bad.  I am not one of these people.  I actually don’t mind driving in the snow.  And driving in a snow storm at night ranks right up there on my list of little things that I love so much.  I love Winter and everything about it.  However, that being said, living up here on the side of one of these mountains has given me a whole new appreciation for driving in the snow, or up here, driving anywhere from a few days to a week after the snow.

We can pretty much count on getting the fluffy, white stuff if there’s even the slightest indication of it in our local forecast.  It’ll snow up here when it’s not snowing anywhere else.  It’s really amazing.  At the bottom of the mountain, or civilization, as some like to refer to it, it’ll be dry as a bone and nothing going on.  About half way up the mountain, the flakes begin to fly and by the time I get to our house, it looks like someone’s shook up a snow globe!  For this snow lover, it’s really a wonderful life up here.

Looking at a mountain range far off in the distance after a snow storm and seeing that part of the mountain has melted and is back to its regular brown Winter color and the other part is still snowy white, blanketed in the glorious fluffy, white stuff has always been stunning and gorgeous to me.  Especially when the setting sun casts the last colors of daylight on one of these mountains.  Vivid, deep purples, bright magentas, and shades of auburn that appear to change with each curve of the mountain and the various shades of white and brown.  But after living up here, near the top of one of these majestic mountain ranges, I’ve found that I have a new appreciation for this phenomenon.

There are distinct lines between winter and fall after the warm, Winter sun has melted part of the mountain.  Driving along the windy road, one side of the forest floor will be snowy white, while the other side will be filled with all the rich brown, earthy colors of Fall.  And it changes with each twist and turn in the road.  At certain points, it’s Winter on the left and Fall on the right.  Then, as you wind your way higher, just beyond the next bend in the road, Fall’s on the left and Winter’s now on the right.  It’s really quite amazing.

The drawback to all this beauty is that parts of the mountain melt completely away, leaving no trace of the slick snow, ice, and slush, while other parts melt just enough to form what should be considered an Olympic sport arena where instead of wearing skates, people drive 4×4 vehicles, sometimes equipped with chains, to compete for gold medals.  I’m pretty sure Mountain Man would take the gold each and every year in this event.

I had never been afraid of driving on slick roads in my life until I started trying to drive on these roads up here.  Even on a good day, these roads aren’t for the faint of heart.  I’ve been told that there are grown men who won’t drive down our driveway in the snow!  But I have.  I’ve done it a few times.  It’s not that bad as long as you’ve got all the right equipment.  You know, a four-wheel drive vehicle, a really good set of tires, the ability to actually drive in the snow, and for me, the ability to pray and drive at the same time.  I get real close to God this time of year.   However, just because I’ve done it, does not mean I wanna do it again.

I’m supposed to go out this morning and I just really don’t know if I’m gonna try it or not.  I’m missing some of the necessary equipment required to get me safely to the bottom.  My tires are not the best in the world and the thoughts of going down the parts of the mountain that didn’t melt at all yesterday make me wanna go crawl back in bed and hide under the covers.

So here I sit, debating back and forth, the pros and cons of going out this morning.  The sun’s just coming up over the mountains to the East and the Carolina blue sky is dotted with a few high puffy clouds.  It’s another one of those beautiful NC mornings.  Snow or no snow, slick road or dry, I know just how lucky I am to live here in this little cabin, on the side of this mountain, with my Mountain Man.

 

 

 

Christmas Stuff vs Everyday Stuff

Every year, sometime during the weekend following Thanksgiving, all of our Christmas stuff comes out of hiding and we hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place our decorations on anything and everything that will hold them.  And let me tell ya, we have a lot of Christmas stuff.  I’ve always had a great deal of holiday decorations, usually adding a little more to the collection every year.  Then, I met Mountain Man and his Christmas collection was quite impressive, too.  After about a year, we decided to move in together, or shack up, depending on which region of the country you’re in.  In fact, that first summer we were living together, Mountain Man had the brilliant idea of having a shacking up party.  Sadly, we never got around to throwing this little shin dig.  Anyway, back to the Christmas stuff.

When I moved up to his mountain cabin, it was already fully furnished and had everything anyone could ever possibly need, so most of my belongings went into storage.  I only brought my clothes and personal day-to-day items, and some others things that I just couldn’t live without.  You know, the little things that bring a smile to your face when you see them lying around your house.  One of mine is a small copy of my favorite painting, Starry Night, that my oldest son presented to me one Mother’s Day long ago.  Another is a glass turtle that I cannot recall where it came from, but it just makes me smile when I see it.

We didn’t bring any of the Christmas stuff with us up here because we really weren’t sure just how long we’d be staying up here on top of the mountain.  That first summer, I really thought we’d be gone by the time the first flakes began to fly.  So when the holiday season arrived and we were still here, it was kinda exciting to go dig all of my Christmas boxes out of storage and pull all of Mountain Man’s out that were stored around the cabin.  Exciting might be an understatement here.  I was as giddy as a school girl!

We had so much stuff!!!  Together we had three full size artificial trees and at least four small ones!  That’s not even counting the artificial pines that stand on either side of the fireplace year round that would be decorated, too!  And we were bound and determined that each and every one of our trees would be put up and decorated.  I’d finally found a man who loves Christmas as much as I do!!!

In the past, I had always had to put all of my everyday stuff up in order to make room for all of my Christmas stuff and now that there were two different collections of Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes, we were definitely gonna have to pack up all the cabin stuff, too.  By the time we finished placing all of our beloved holiday treasures around the cabin and decorating all nine of our trees, it was gorgeous!  An absolutely stunning Christmas display in a snowy cabin perched high upon a mountain top.  It was every Christmas lover’s dream come true!

I believe Mountain Man said it best, though.  He took one look at the living room alone and said that it looked like a Christmas store threw up in there!  And he was right.  I loved it!  And I think he loved it, too.  But, I don’t think either of us thought we’d have that much stuff when we first started converging our two collections.

That first Christmas together in the cabin was wonderful, just like every other Christmas we’ve shared.  My problem today lies in the fact that it’s now January 2nd and it’s time to take down all the pretty red and green decorations and pack them all away again until next year.  It’s time to get all of our everyday stuff back out.  Don’t get me wrong.  All the everyday stuff is nice and pretty, too.  But it’s not the Christmas stuff.  It’s just not as shiny and happy and whimsical as the holiday stuff.  Each year, I’m always kinda sad to see the Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes go back into their boxes and hide away for the next eleven months.

I’ve not really bought anything for the house since I moved into the cabin with Mountain Man.  I used to see things that caught my eye and if they weren’t too awfully extravagant, I’d buy them and bring them home with me and they’d find a new home alongside all my other little treasures that just make me happy.  I’m thinking it might be time to start adding to my whimsical, often kooky, sometimes off the wall collection of everyday stuff.  I’m thinking Mountain Man and I need to find some things that are ours.  Things to hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place throughout the cabin that will bring back fond memories and smiles to our faces every time we see them.

Perhaps then, having to put all the Christmas stuff away and unwrapping all the everyday stuff won’t be such a dreaded chore anymore, but a more exciting, thrilling job.  One that can be just as happy as cracking open that first Christmas box right after Thanksgiving.

Big, Comfy, Cozy

It’s cold up here on the mountain this morning!  I mean really cold!  According to our handy dandy thermometer, it’s 29.3 degrees outside right now.  By the way, for those of you out there that might be wondering, right now just happens to be 8:15 am.  The fireplace is roaring and the little back up electric heater is humming right behind Mountain Man’s big, comfy, cozy chair.  The same chair that becomes my big, comfy, cozy chair throughout the day until he gets home from work.  But I’m still cold!

The funny thing is, the sun’s shining in a bright blue sky outside and to look out the windows, you’d think it was a nice, mild Fall day.  Nope.  Not up here anyway.

Oh well, I’ve got a ton of stuff I’ve gotta get done today before our weekend officially starts here at the cabin.  It’s funny how the older I get, the more I love just hanging around the house with my Mountain Man and our little family.  I’ve always said, it’s the little things in life that mean the most.  The little things, and on cold mornings like this, Mountain Man’s big, comfy, cozy chair.

Secrets To Happiness

Here lately, life has been…

Ummm…

Well, I’m almost afraid to type the word for fear that I’ll jinx this new-found thing that’s going on around here.

Oh, what the heck.  I’m just gonna throw it out there.

I’m HAPPY!  I mean really happy!

Not that I’m usually angry or sad or anything like that.  I mean, yeah, every new day brings new challenges, disappointments, frustrations, and various other negative things.  I’m pretty sure that’s normal when you’re raising kids, taking care of a house and your family, trying to find new ways to save money and dealing with crazy extended family members.  But for the last little bit, I’ve just been super dooper looper giddy.  And it feels sooooooo good!

That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect in my little corner of the Universe.  Far from it, in fact.  But for whatever reason, it’s a lot easier to accept the bad when you’ve got the best surrounding you with love and acceptance each and every day.  I’ve known for a long time now that Mountain Man loves me for who I am, unconditionally.  But it never ceases to amaze me just how deep that love goes and just how much better things are knowing that he’s around.

So, I’m not sure if these are truly the secrets to happiness, but they’ve helped me immensely.

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things are not always gonna be perfect, no matter how hard you try.  There’s always gonna be laundry and dishes piling up, and from time to time, there’s gonna be “stuff” laying on every surface that will hold something.  That’s life.

2) You can’t fix everything, (or everyone).

You are one person and no matter how hard you try, you absolutely cannot fix all the world’s problems on your own.

3) You are not in control of anything!

When you stop and think about it, you really don’t have control over anything in this world except yourself and your own actions, and that’s even limited at times.  Once you wrap your mind around this concept, it’s easier to let things be and not worry about every little thing.

4) Worrying doesn’t help!  Period!

Seriously.  Does actual worrying ever fix anything?  No.  All it does is cause internal turmoil and angst.

5) Accept yourself.  

Don’t expect too much from yourself or other people.  Know your limitations and know when to say enough is enough.  Always strive for your best, but know that sometimes good enough is good enough.

6) Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

A very wise man has told me this repeatedly, but I’ve not fully mastered this one, just yet.  I fully see the logic behind this concept, but I’m constantly guilty of putting others in my life before me.  I think that’s an innate part of being a woman and a Mother.  I am starting to see the truth in this statement and I’ve put it into practice, just a little, here and there.  I kinda feel a little guilty when I do, though, so this one’s gonna require baby steps.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to use these little tid bits and I’m certain I won’t be the last.  In fact, the very first phrase listed happens to be the title of a book!  These things just happened to enter my thoughts this morning and I thought I’d share.  Plus, there’s that whole thing I’ve got going where I’m trying to write something everyday.

Again, thank you for being patient with me.  I am, most definitely, a work in progress.

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