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The following writings are something I started when we moved to Virginia in 2008 to share with family and friends about our lives in Virgina.  It was an instant hit for everyone and so much fun that I decided to post them and continue them periodically.  Its really just a great chance for me to share our lives with our loved ones.

And so it is

It seems it was meant to be... an so it is

For all my dear friends and family - I love you all. I want to share with you a little of what my life is like here in Virginia. It is all I ever dreamed of and hoped for - and then some. Pete and I are enjoying this life together as I think it was meant to be. Our mornings start with cups of hot coffee on the deck - the sun shines 9 out of 10 days- and maybe on that 10th day we watch the mist roll over the mountains and be thankful for the rain. We share our deck space with the fiesty little hummingbirds that we've hung feeders for. We watch the buzzards come up from their roost in the trees - they sleep in til about 8:30 - there are between 50 and 75 of them altogether and its quite a show when they wake up and take off and soar in circles and then head off in several directions. We love to watch them and I think they know it. We have a blue heron that fishes our branch and we've counted 3 white egrets. There are hundreds of butterflies - they love the bright orange butterfly weed that grows in abundance in our fields - I'm going to try to cultivate some of it and get it to grow near the house. Our days are quiet - for the most part - we've been really busy getting all the finishing jobs done... and one by one they ARE getting done - but there is no hurry. Life is slow and easy here. When its not too hot, I walk the 1/2 mile down our lane to get to the mailbox and check the snail mail - and sometimes we wait until evening to take that walk. The mail can wait!

We're enjoying the bounty of our friends garden - Mary Jo and Charlie have the best garden!!! I am learning how to use the veggies in different ways and to can some things and freeze others - we actually have to buy a freezer (when we finally close on our NY house). We have 8 - 10 quarts of blueberries frozen already - the squash has filled our bellies this summer more days than not! When we do go out for supper - Pete calls it "squash relief" !! He makes me laugh. And its never squash relief when its squash season - they had fried squash on the buffet that night and neither one of us could turn it down!!! The zinnias in the garden are absolutely gorgeous - and the butterflies hang out there all day long! We have lots of beets - I even put up some pickled beets!!! and they taste like picked beets!! We have an abundance of onions and garlic (Thank God) and butternut squash and spaghetti squash - for those fall days... The apples are coming along - we tasted them today - they are already SWEET!! smallish yet, but sooooooooo sweet - and the trees are LOADED down with them. They are called Arkansas Blacks - a deep black colored red apple - the most delicious apple I have ever tasted! There's fresh okra.... some of which will go into my stew tomorrow - (not my favorite, but still welcome in a stew.). We picked lots of blackberries this summer - all our fence lines and hedgerows are COVERED with blackberries as big as your thumb! We've had cobblers and pies and have some berries frozen for the wintertime. I found out when picking blackberries that the June Bugs like the berries too - and they come flying out at you all at once - scared me to death the first time - and they are a vibrant GREEN color!!! Very pretty and BIG... (you would love them, Cher...)hee hee

Life is unhurried -peaceful - we look forward to the simplest things in a day - sometimes just the upcoming evening when its cool enough for long pants and sleeves - the last few nights we've had to pull up a quilt by morning - and haven't had to have the ac on at all!! (I'm spoiled for life now with central air!! ) What a treat! The evenings start off with the greatest show of fireflies coming up from the grass - filling the woods and the meadows and fields with sparkling lights - its BEAUTIFUL!! I've never seen so many fireflies in one place before!! It feels magical. We seldom turn on the tv because the nights are so much more fun out on the deck - some nights we go over to Marti's house ( the Orchard House) and share food and/or music and fellowship and most always a bon fire. The smores are always good... We're getting really good at star gazing -- we find we need a constellation book to refresh our memories and help us learn some new ones.

The kayaking is wonderful - 150 miles of shore at Philpott Lake to explore!! Lots of hiking trails. Music jams every night - Events constantly!! You can be as busy as you want to. Right now we're taking a little time to be still and peaceful - all our energy has been spent on getting the house in living order - putting things in their places and letting go of what doesn't have a place here. We're taking this opportunity to heal ourselves and each other. It feels like our own little piece of heaven here in this field in Virginia where we're in touch with nature and each other like we've never been before. We play music almost every day. Life is good. We're happy. We're extremely grateful for the blessings in our lives - mostly each and every one of YOU!!

 

FRONT PAGE NEWS: Our 10th grandchild was born this summer - July 2008. His name is Elijah Lang and he is a cutie!! Welcome Elijah!

 

 

Autumn 2008

Autumn comes sneaking in - those glorious blue skies like no other time of year, and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. We're snug in our little cabin home on the hill, and grateful for the two months that we don't have to run AC or heat! It's very comfortable and economical. I have definitely learned how to can produce! We are still reaping the local abundant harvest! Our shelves are full of jars of peaches, peach jam, peach butter, blueberry jam, blueberry syrup (which is AWESOME on pancakes), apple sauce, apple butter, tomatoes and tomato sauce - etc etc etc!! What wasn't canned went into the freezer. Thank you, Patty, for telling me about freezing the apples for winter pie. The apple tree branches were bowed with the weight of so many apples. Mom's first visit to Patrick County was spent picking and peeling apples. We set our work tables up out on the deck for peeling and preparing apples when it was too beautiful to be inside. We had apple pie, apple cobbler, apple crisp and FRIED apples ~ a delicious southern recipe we just learned about!!! YUM YUM    My brother, Bob and his wife, Tammy came over from Beulaville, NC for a visit while Mom was here - and it turned out to be a great night for a bonfire. Pete hauled rocks up from the creek bed to build our fire pit. Its right out in the middle of the front yard!  We've enjoyed many many nights around the fire with friends and family. Sometimes we need a little blanket around us when it gets late - it IS Autumn and the nights are clear and crisp.

I've worked several weekends for Sue at the Mountain Meadow Farm and  Craft Market while she runs the famous Corn Maze in Meadows of Dan. The husband and wife team - Sammy and Sue Shelor - do a fantastic job with the corn maze. If y'all are in the area in September or October - be SURE to go through the corn maze!! Its very pleasant work to fill in for Sue at her little shop - meeting and greeting customers from all over the country. The shop is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the slow times, I sit outside in the sunshine and listen to the hum of traffic from the parkway. In the afternoons, a thoughtful Pete shows up with a carafe of hot coffee and our guitars. ( He makes the best coffee in the world!!!) We pick all afternoon out on the porch between customers. Some stop to shop, some stop to listen, some stop to pick and some just stop to say "hey". Life doesn't get more laid back than this, folks...

Back at the homestead - the woods and the creek area were completely overgrown - we couldn't even walk through it in the summer months, so as days got cooler and the leaves starting falling, we started clearing trails and cleaning up the fallen trees - (great firewood). Pete worked on cleaning up an old dump site down by the creek, and to save some very large trees that the water was undermining, he diverted the water away from that washed away bank (with huge roots showing) and created the most gorgeous spot! The pool and the waterfall are absolutely beautiful. He's such a natural! Lots of clipping and hauling brush was good for both of us. The trail is a work in progress, but now we can walk all the way around our property - a few spots are goat trails yet, but not too bad to manage. Its a wonderful hike. Several spots along the way need a pondering bench - we're still working on the plans for those.  (Click Here and take a nature hike with us through photos.) 

The deer and the turkeys come every day. Sue let us have bags of leftover corn from the corn maze, so the animals were well fed. We see 28 turkeys - 23 hens and 5 toms. The racoons come up and clean off the underneath part of our grill at night after we cook out - the little red muddy footprints give them away.

Life is good. Its slow and easy, full of music and friends and laughter - all blessing our lives here in a magical way. We miss everybody who isn't here with us - you ALL are in our hearts and thoughts and prayers.

 

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2010

Another year has gone by.... and we're back around to winter again - actually a great time to write. Its so brutally cold out, all we can do is stay in out of the ferocious wind. Well, time marches on, I guess, as it always does. Its been an abundant year in so many ways - so many, many blessings. A thank you to Pat and Gary for an abundant beginning of 2010. We love you both.

We've been working on the simplified life here in Virginia, so when May rolled around we had uncovered quite a few family treasures we had saved and packed up for Jenifer and her family, and made the trip to King George with a pick up truck FULL of boxes and furniture, our camper in tow. Jen and Craig had just finished building their new home, so they were ready for Grammy's harvest table. It looks so beautiful in their new home. We think it might be big enough to seat the entire clan!! We got to spend the weekend which included Mother's Day with them. It was so good to see them all. They had a big bbq in celebration of their house warming, and we got to play and sing for the party and bless the new home. A fun time had by all in their beautiful place.

We added a car port on the east side of our house for the camper and the extra shade and protection in inclement weather. Its really nice to pull under the carport when its pouring rain to unload the van full of groceries!

Once again, I spent a good deal of time learning more and more about canning and preserving food. Had wonderful luck with pickles, and yellow squash relish, and salsa, and pickled beets, and tomato sauce, and applesauce and blueberry jam, and peach jam, and concord grape jam, (thank you, Doris) and plum jam (thank you again, Doris) and blueberry/peach jam - ha! Judy started that trend!! Boy, is it good!!! We froze bags and bags of blueberries and peppers and green beans and blackberries and peaches. It was a good year for fresh produce.

Mary Jo, Marti, and I signed up for the local water aerobics class - the most fun exercising I have EVER had!! What a fun bunch of women we had. Our niece, Rachel, got to spend a whole week with us this year and to participate in the areobics class, too! Of course, none of the rest of us looked like she did in our bathing suits..... even after the class was over in August!!! We enjoyed Rae to the max..as we always do. Sweet sixteen this year for her. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. We played with art in all forms - I think our favorite was hand dying pieces of flannel fabric. GORGEOUS stuff came out of that day!!! And later in the fall Rachel got a quilt from the efforts of dying that fabric. We tie-dyed everything in sight! What fun. She is really a true artist. See her latest work from school here .

I felt so blessed when Pete put a false floor in my basement studio, which helped my knees and back and feet immensely!! He's so good to me. He found a nice part time job at the Mayo River Saw Mill this summer working for his friend and fellow picker, Jason Harris. He loves the job! Its very flexible and only 24 hours a week. Just what Pete was interested in. In between work and the basement floor, he also built a planter the entire length of our deck in the front of the house!! Its beautiful, and I absolutely love it!!!

My mom put her little house/condo on the market this year, and moved to Beulaville, NC to be near my brother and his wife. She is very happy and content there with her 3 kitties. My sister flew to Florida to drive mom to NC this summer and Pete and I made the trip over to welcome her to her new home.

Dad and Pat flew down from NY this summer - and we made another trek to Beulaville to see my brother, dropped my sis off to fly back home from there and brought Dad back for another few days with us. We did some major sight-seeing - he seemed to enjoy that the most. Sam had put a pool in his back yard and we spent every waking minute in it - (I gave a mini water aerobics class, but not many were interested..) : ) We had a wonderful visit.

Summer flew by and then came the cooler days of fall - my favorite time of year. I love the colors, the smells, the feel of the air, the leaves swirling and falling all around me - apple picking time!! I took the book "A Course in Miracles" out from the library, but soon found that it really IS a course that one needs to study, so I put it on my wish list at Amazon for the future. You really have to own a copy - it can't be read (and comprehended) in 2-3 weeks. Pete and I started a bible study together with Sonda and Marti. A friend of Sonda's, who is in seminary, hosted the study. We studied the Old Testament for ten weeks , a first for both Pete and myself. In the spring we will continue with the New Testament. I'm already looking forward to that.

In September we headed south to Alabama to spend a few days with Mike, Novellee, Colleen, and Corey and Zack - they have their homecoming event at their church that time of year, so we were invited to play music and sing, which we had done 2 years prior. It WAS like a homecoming to us!! The boys are growing like WEEDS!! Hunters, fishermen, football and baseball players - all around boys!!! What a pleasure they both are. One day it was pouring rain and we were getting ready to leave for the church, when a little knock came on the camper door. I peeked out to see both boys - They had come for Grandma with an umbrellla... awwwwwwww Such gentlemen!! Mike suffered with the pain of kidney stones the entire time we visited, but passed them the week we left - Thank God!!!

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Then came our 11th grandchild on October 8th, 2010 - welcome to Abraham Peter Lang - a strapping 9lbs 13 oz. CUTE CUTE CUTE!!!! (says Grandma)

November 15th we lost our dear, dear friend and neighbor, Marti Allen, to her long fight with cancer - she was an inspiration to us all and in her worst times, she lifted us up with her faith and her strength. We loved her so much and we miss her smiling face.

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The end of November found us driving back to Beulaville, NC to spend the first Thanksgiving in moms new home. Both my sister and brother were there also. Eunice rode back to Virginia with us on Saturday and flew back home to NY from here. That was a nice visit!!

December brought us another nice visit with our friend Rick Starkey who came nearby to give a Martin clinic - we surprised him by attending and had a most wonderful time! Pete won almost all of the Martin giveaways for the question and answer test at the close of the clinic - of course!! : ) We came home with 2 t-shirts, 2 sets of strings, and a hat!! It was a pretty good year!

We feel blessed beyond measure for the wonders we receive.

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A Popular Crossing

Spring 2009

Spring always feels like the breath of fresh air that it truly is. We had one measurable snow in Patrick Springs over the winter, and that was in March. It was about 3" and lasted maybe 2 days. It really was a pristine picture and we appreciated the beauty in it for that one day... but we were anxious for spring by that time, so glad to see it melt away so fast.

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The daffodils have gone by ,the dogwood and the sweet almond trees are taking their turn at showing off. The creek is high, so we need our wading boots to criss cross when we want to. Pete and I spent the winter in our woods clearing underbrush and cleaning up dead wood in anticipation of many bon fires to come this summmer. We're still working on the trails all along the creek, making it so inviting to go for a long walk. The fiddlehead ferns are popping their little heads up and unfurling slowly day by day. The blue and yellow violets are in full bloom, and the May apples create a gorgeous green carpet along the creek. Hundreds of tiny umbrellas are the May apples. The miniature iris grows in abundance and is only about 3" - 4" tall. The mossy banks of the creek are the color of early spring green, with the undercolor of a very dark shade of green. The pink honeysuckle tree is absolutely gorgeous - and smells heavenly.... there are several little ones that I can transplant!! Pete put a swing in a tree by the water - what a peaceful place to stop and rest. And speaking of that breath of fresh air - our niece, Rachel just spent the week (her spring break) with us here, where she got a chance to try out the new swing. Even though the water was icy cold, we tip-toed up the creek in our clogs and sandals. It was an exciting week - a most memorable time for the 3 of us. We toured the famous Mabry Mill up at Meadows of Dan, and shopped at Nancy's Candy Factory.... and told so many silly family stories that made us laugh til we had tears running down our cheeks. "What's the Password" was one that Rae had not heard before! It was the first air flight for Rae - she proved to be a brave traveller and can't wait to go again! She spent some real quality time with her perfect Uncle Pete learning a few secrets about pitching and hitting.

We bought huge bubble makers and when the wind blew - we ran outside with our bubble gear and let the wind do the work - (we found blowing bubbles that big was a work out)! The woods out back were full of bubbles - and the sun shinging on them made us feel like we were truly in the enchanted forest. As quick as a wink, as full as it was, the week was gone and Rae was leaving to go back to her home. I thought of Shakespeare and felt the words he wrote: " Parting is such sweet sorrow". I miss her so much.

A week later we were at the same airport to collect Mom for a weeks visit. She requested the week be filled with music - and we were happy to comply. We shared music almost every night - she got to meet all our pickin' friends, and was blessed many times over with the gift of wonderful bluegrass (and more) music. We shared meals with Mary Jo ,Charlie and Marti. Mom brought lots of gifts in her suitcase - thats always fun to open!! (hee hee - says the kid in me..) We got to hike the Heartstone Branch with her. ** We both loved the May Apples - something neither one had seen before. Mom was here during the time of the bursting bloom of azaleas, dogwoods, and redbuds. The show was absolutely breathtaking!!! Virginia's state flower is the dogwood, and now I know why - the abundance of dogwood trees is beyond anything I could have imagined. The beauty of the white dogwood standing next to a pink dogwood is awesome, but then when you see the redbuds mixed in.... well, you just have to come here to experience it for yourselves... there are no words to describe the beauty of this magnificent sight. We have several dogwood trees of our own. Mom treated us to a shopping spree at Hall's Plants - our first pick was a redbud tree, then two more wagons got filled up with shrubs and flowers!!! (Thank you Mom!!!) I can't wait to take pictures NEXT spring to share with you all! We're planting a grove of flowering trees where Pete cleaned up the old dump. Mike and Mary have given us some, and Leon and Judy gave us a bunch!!! And we're adding a few of our own that needed to be moved where they can be enjoyed and taken care of. We are so blessed!! It is such a beautiful spring. Its been WET, to put that mildly, but I got the chance to explore and photograph the fungi life along our branch - I've always had a facination for fungi.  Life continues to be good for us here in our little haven - enjoying the natural beauty of this wonderful place we now call home. As always , we miss and love you all.

Summer 2009

Twilight creeps in peacefully, the fireflies once again sparkle and twinkle like a million Christmas lights - delighting us night after night. The owl comes alive asking "whoooooooo, whooooooo" and we mimic him, keeping the conversation going for quite a long time. The sound of the coyotes raises the hair on the back of our necks.

Bob White calls out in the mornings as we're enjoying the view and a cup of coffee on the deck. We knew the deck would be the most used "room" in our place, but we didn't know to what extent! We're planning to add a roof over the east side of the deck so we can stay outside in all weather....

 Check out the all natural topiary rabbit up on the hillside - we LOVE it!! naturehike/srabbitdistance.jpg

The fields around us are full of cattle in one direction and sheep in another. Its so funny to hear the different baaaa's of the sheep - you can surely tell which is the grandpa and which are the young babies. We love what have become familiar sounds to us. The sheep are owned by our neighbors at Border Springs Farm and the lamb meat is absolutely scrumptous!

We're getting a bit spoiled with the abundance of fresh organic food.... We never had a vegetable garden in Pine Plains - (our top soil was the best grade of gravel around) so when we needed anything.... we jumped in the car and went down to Peck's Market. With friends like Mary Jo, Charlie, and Marti - the fresh produce in unbelievable! Fresh lettuce every day, snow peas to die for... tips of asparagus, fresh picked spinach...peppers of every size and shape and color...rhubarb... tomatoes galore ( I made SALSA , folks - jars and jars of it!!!! )  Marti's sugar baby watermelons were the sweetest melons we have EVER tasted - what a treat!! O my gosh! We are so blessed.

In April we decided to stop watching the TV - just too much negative stuff on it, and we really don't have time over the summer anyway. WELL, it turns out to be the very best decision we have ever made!!! (almost)- We don't miss it one bit - in fact, we play lots more music and we read!!!! And we have long conversations.... imagine that!!! : )

In June at the Festival of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY, we got to spend some great days with our friends Chuck and Charlene (not to mention the awesome picking at the camp site with Memphis Bec and the Fogmeister, Mary Jo and Charlie!) A BIG old thunder storm came up early one morning and both Pete and Charlie were outside (in their skivvies) trying to get the awning down before the wind tore it to shreds.... when lightning struck them both - it was an experience they will never forget, and we are glad (and so grateful ) to say that they are both fine!! WHEW!

Back home again with a renewed sense of being alive and being able to enjoy our lives, we did exactly that. We watch the little salamanders scurry across the deck, stopping to sun themselves at times. The colors are so brilliant - neon blue, green and orange. The butterflies seem to flock around this meadow, and several pose to let me get up-close pictures of them. naturehike/butterfly.jpg

We had a visit from grandaughter, Lanna.  It was a treasured time for us. I didn't realized how much I had missed seeing her. We got caught up on our lives and enjoyed each other every second she was here!! I got commissioned to take senior pictures - now THAT was so much enjoyment, I could barely stand it - Here they are: Lan's Senior pics  She has blossomed into the most beautiful young woman - inside and out. We are so proud of her and we love her so very very much. Marti saw the pink in Lan's hair and had to have some for herselfLansseniorpics/pinkmarti.jpg  - we all had such a memorable time.  Once again we are humbled and so very thankful for the blessings.

Fall and Winter 2009 - 2010

Fall sneaks back in on chilly tip toes.... the color of the sky is bluer than any other time of the year, and the temperatures invite us to put a sweatshirt on and go outside for a walk through the fallen leaves along the branch.

Finally we got to go to the Colorado Rocky Mountains - OHMIGOSH!!! it was a long overdue visit to our long time friend Ron and his sweetheart, Heidi. There aren't words to describe the beauty and the grandeur of the mountain range, the entire area, and Rons Ranch, Aerie Peak. We spent the most peaceful wonderful week catching up on our lives and sharing this gorgeous ranch. We felt like we were staying at the best bed and breakfast in the world. Heidi and Ron spoiled us beyond anything we could have imagined. It was awesome awesome AWESOME!! Here's the view from our bedroom windows:  ourphotoalbum/COview.jpg     ourphotoalbum/coview2.jpg

Ron took us on a tour almost everyday. West Cliff is beautiful. It was all beautiful. There was a great jam and we got to meet all the locals. We got snowed in on the last day of our stay, and had to sit around in front of the roaring fireplace and pick.... A dream vacation to say the very least. We thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Thank you Ron!!!

When we got back home we had Mike Scott (our wonderful friend and contractor/builder) come back and put a roof over the east side of our deck ~~ and are we ever glad we did!!!

November we spent a weekend with my brother and his wife in NC to celebrate the Marines birthday - what a great party - so much food - a whole pig on the bbq - and lots of salads and snacks and BEER!!! whew! Great new friends to add to our long list!!!

I've spent some time experimenting with herbs and their multitude of uses. I have a little outdoor garden on the deck in the good weather. We have also been studying the ingredients in everything we take in or use... and found it amazing what is accepted and used by millions without question - so many toxic chemicals, folks!! SO - here comes the herbs ~~ I'm making all my own lotions and creams and salves and balms with all natural organic ingredients!! My favorite , so far, is the comfrey salve, but the peppermint foot balm comes in at second place! I make our own toothpaste - its way better than anything I've ever bought at the store!! WHO KNEW?? I'm still studying the world of herbs and their healing qualities as well as aromatherapy, which, I believe goes hand in hand. Enjoying every minute of that!!

 

Winter comes early in the Rockies.... But then it came to Virginia and snowed on us every week for months..... we were buried!!! Not a typical winter for us here, but now we know we will need a generator for next year if this happens again! We did play a lot of music, we got out to the library every chance we got and stocked up on books. It was a quiet, peaceful, slow winter, and we loved it. Pete also got his little building - his very OWN SPACE!!! A very cute 12 x 16 room with sliding glass doors so he can see the mountains. He insulated it and ran the electrical wiring so he could use it. It's become his workout room - and his picking shed - simply his private space. With a long winter like that .... it really was a blessing!! heehee ourphotoalbum/peteshed1.jpg  ourphotoalbum/peteshed2.jpg  ourphotoalbum/peteshed3.jpg

I'm taking over the entire basement.... and with that long spell we had to spend indoors, I set up a spot down there to paint.... and after a few days of pacing and staring at beautiful landscape pictures - there it was again - like an old familiar friend.... the spirit in me came forth and the painting began again. What a blessing and a gift!!!!! Life is good here in Patrick Springs, Virginia. Its all we ever dreamed of and then some. Friends and family - come for a visit - you'll love it!!

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February 11, 2011

This morning Pete and I crawled grudgingly out from under the warm quilt on our bed and turned on our little gas log fireplace, put the coffee on to brew, and opened our wintertime drapes to peek out at the thermometer.... 20 degrees - brrrrrrrr. But we opened the curtains anyway and the view took our breath away - we just stared out there. Jack Frost had laid down a sparkling blanket of white , but on TOP of the blanket, God had sprinkled diamonds all over our fields- it was such an awesome sight - we both said " We're rich!!!! There's diamonds everywhere!!!!" So we simply stood there in front of the window staring at the extravagant beauty of it all, knowing how quickly riches can disappear.... and soon that scene began to fade , as the sun rose in the sky. Pop - each little diamond popped and disappeared, and the frosty blanket faded, but our attention was drawn upwards to the pink and orange stripes in the sky. Jet streams crisscrossed the sky and as the sun came up, it painted them a pink/orange!!! It was awesome!!! We are so blessed each and every day, if we just take the time to see it. The natural beauty we have to enjoy is never ending and so abundant. We are humbled with gratitude and awe for the beautiful place we are caretakers of.  (Happy Birthday today to someone special.....)