Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's Here Again - My Favorite Season

Fall stirs something deep inside me! I love it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mother Neff State Park

Dan and I drove out to Mother Neff State Park this morning. It only takes a half hour, or less, to get there from our house. We wanted to scope it out for Chris and Kelsey, since they love camping in the various Texas State parks, and haven't been to this one yet.

It was a beautiful fall morning. The temperature was around 80 degrees, so it was perfect for getting out and walking. Mother Neff is a small, forested park, with a few hook-ups for campers and some nice day-use areas. We spoke with one of the rangers, who was doing some maintenance there, and she said that in a couple months they will be completing an expansion that has been going on for a year or two, which will add considerably more camping spaces to the park.

The park sits alongside the Leon River, and fishing is allowed from the bank. In the 1930s the CCC worked there, quarrying native limestone and milling local timber, to construct the pavilion and a couple other buildings, which are all still in use.

There are numerous hiking trails with some points of interest, such as a Tonkawa Indian cave, a stone tower, and a pond. We didn't go to the tower or the pond, but did climb down the rough, rocky stone steps to visit the cave. I was a little nervous about Dan going down those stairs, since he's just seven weeks out from his last knee replacement surgery, but he did great!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homestead Heritage Village

It's been quite a summer! Between moving Mom here and taking care of Dan during his recuperation after having both knees replaced, summer has sort of passed me by. That's okay, though, since I was more than happy to be there for both of them. But now it's FALL, my very favorite time of year, and I have been feeling a great need to get out with my camera to somewhere beautiful.

I had heard about Homestead Heritage Village, just north of Waco, some time ago, and was again reminded of it this week, by a friend who had been there recently. So I set out late this morning to explore it. (Dan's new knee wasn't quite up to an activity like this yet.) What a wonderful place! I'll be going back as often as I can. It's open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It has a working gristmill with a store that sells its flours; a forge, where blacksmiths work; a pottery workshop; a fiber crafts building, for carding wool, combing cotton, beating flax, spinning, weaving, and knitting; a woodworking shop; a gift shop; and a cafe/bakery. They offer classes to the public in the various crafts. 

The weekend after Thanksgiving they hold a big craft fair with demonstrations, live bluegrass and gospel music, food, and hands-on activities - for adults and children. 



This waterwheel powers the mill

The mill store, where they sell flours and baking mixes, as well as homemade jams and jellies.
I had lunch here, and it was very good. I was sorely tempted to have a dessert, as they looked absolutely wonderful - but I didn't.
A class, framed by one of the large looms

This woven piece, still attached to a loom, was in process.

Some completed woven scarves

A class was going on while I was there, and a man was working on this piece. He used a grape leaf to make the impression.


This very tall chest was made in the wood shop and is now displayed in the gift shop. 

This is the top of the chest shown above. You can only see the top from the upper story of the shop, but even this "unseen" portion was beautifully crafted.

These are scented soaps. They slice bars from the long slabs.


On fair days, they offer horse-drawn hay wagon rides, but on non-fair days, they only have a few animals in a petting zoo area, such as this llama, who seems to have a severe under bite ;-)

 Although the Thanksgiving Fair would be a lot of fun to attend, I really enjoyed going on a day like this. There were not many people there (except in the cafe/bakery), and it was so peaceful and quiet.

Lunch at the Dead Fish Grill

On Wednesday I picked Mom up and took her to lunch at The Dead Fish Grill. Now before you judge it too harshly, based upon it's rather "stinky" name, let me tell you that it's a very nice restaurant, located right on the shore of Lake Belton, near the dam. Mom ordered the fried catfish, and said it was wonderful. Must have been, since she ate all of it, and she's not usually a big eater!

I tried to get a picture with my iPhone, but had trouble because of the bright background, so Mom's image is a little too dark. But you can see that it was a lovely day to be at the lake. This restaurant is only about 5 minutes from Stoney Brook, where Mom is living.

Annual Temple Literacy Council Celebration

On Saturday Dan and I, along with my student, Hidetaka, and his wife and baby girl, attended the Literacy Council's annual celebration and awards brunch, at the library.

The Chisolm Trail Chorus (Sweet Adelines) gave a great performance for us.

Hidetaka's little one is such a doll! She was enchanted with the singing, and couldn't resist adding her own little dance routine, nearly stealing the show from the singers. Here's one of her down-low moves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Catching Up

We haven't done anything too exciting recently, therefore the lack of blog posts! But here's a quick summary of Life With the Judds.

Part of the reason for our inactivity is Dan's on-going recuperation from knee surgery, his home health care, and his physical therapy. He's doing great, although he is impatient with his progress this time around. I'm pretty sure he's doing every bit as well as he did the first time, but having both surgeries in a matter of three months makes it feel like he's been healing forever. His physical therapist has completed her work with him. We are just waiting for her supervisor to come to the house and officially release him from home health care; until then he is confined to the house except for going to church or medical appointments. Once he's released, he'll still be dependent upon me for driving, since he won't be able to get behind the wheel until he sees his doctor in a little over two weeks from now.

Mom is settling in pretty well now. We have all of her stuff unpacked and put away, and her pictures hung on the wall. She's ordered a small, round, drop-leaf dining table and a pretty little wooden kitchen utility cart, with a drawer and cupboards. The utility cart will add to her counter space so she can keep her toaster and other things out all the time. She has met with her new primary care physician, and likes her (she's the same doctor Dan and I see). Her permanent Texas ID card has arrived in the mail, and she's opened a local bank account. She's finding it pretty convenient to use Stoney Brook's bus for trips to Walmart and the grocery store. The only thing we still need to take care of is driving to Austin to meet with a fellow at the Senior Resource Center to see about making application for the Veterans' Aid and Attendance pension, which we believe she will qualify for, based upon my Dad's service in the military during war time. If she does, indeed, qualify it will help with her living expenses at Stoney Brook.

Since yesterday was Labor Day, I thought we should have a last summer-time feast. Mom came to the house, and we had a meal of grilled brats, home-made potato salad, watermelon, baked beans, corn on the cob, and, for dessert, peach pie with peach ice cream. We were all complaining that we ate too much, but . . . it's the last holiday meal until Thanksgiving.

The weather here hasn't turned fall-like yet. We're still seeing temperatures at or around 100 degrees mid-day. But the lawns are beginning to lose their green color, and our oak tree is showing signs of seasonal change, so maybe cooler temperatures are on their way.

My art class teacher took the month of August and the first week of September off, in order to travel to Peru on vacation. To keep in practice, I set myself a goal of drawing my first portrait. I struggled awhile about what to do, and then decided to try drawing one based upon a photo of Clara that Kelsey took a long time ago. It was always one of my favorites. 

I found I had time to try one of Robert, during our August break, as well. Again, I drew it from a photo taken by Kelsey.  I'm not perfectly satisfied with this one yet, but my teacher will help me tweak it when we get back to class. I'm pretty sure I'll need to add some background shading, for one thing.

My little Bible Bees are so precious! Two of them have earned their Bible Bees T-Shirts:

These two have memorized 11 Bible verses and have been in attendance nearly every week. Jayme (the little girl) has also memorized the books of the Old Testament and a series of facts about the Bible. Both are learning the fruit of the Spirit. This week we had five happy, eager Bible Bees in attendance, all making progress toward goals and earning awards.