Monday, September 30, 2013

Bishop's Storehouse

Ed and I spent all day Saturday at the Bishop's Storehouse in Washington, DC. I had never worked there before. It was interesting and enjoyable work. We filled orders for food as people came in, and also restocked shelves as necessary. They only carry a small range of items, so they need re-stocking frequently as people take items. It gave you new respect for supermarkets and the work they do to keep the shelves looking great.

We didn't think to bring a lunch, but they gave us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which really hit the spot. They also had some slices of bruised fruit and tomatoes to top it off! My favorite thing was filling an order in Spanish. I also filled an order for a French speaking woman from Ivory Coast. Thank heavens the missionaries accompanied her and translated for us!

Mum's the Word!

We're enjoying fall so much. Look at how beautiful our mums are! We planted them before the fall festival, and since then they've become even more beautiful.

Ed moved the lawnmower and snow blower into the shed. I thought they would fill it up right away, but the shed is much bigger than I expected. Now we have to decide which items to leave in the garage and which items to move to the shed. I even cleaned off a set of shelves from the basement and moved to the shed so we can put fertilizer and other lawn items out there. It's going to be great to reclaim the garage!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Swan Song from Roberto

My contractors finished our "Cadillac of Sheds" today. Roberto sang me one last song as he tried out my backpacker guitar.

Then, he and Nelson posed in front of their handiwork. It turned out really nice. We'll now wait for the first rain to check and make sure it's water-tight, as well!

We had them build two doors, the one on the left is one large one, and the one on the right folds into two so it can open wider-as there is a wall that juts out on that side. This weekend we'll move the lawnmower into its new home, and I'll finally be able to access the cabinets in the garage. I can't wait!

Alcohol Ink and Activity Day

We had a lesson on temples today and colored and stamped dominoes for Activity Day. The girls did a great job and were so fast I let them do 4 dominoes each. One of their four was supposed to be a temple.

Silvia forgot to do her temple one, so she actually got to do five dominoes. I was impressed with how quickly they got down to business and what great color choices they made. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, and they had to leave with wet glue on their magnets. Hopefully, they'll set up nicely at home!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ten Miles to Suzanne's House

Today Suzanne and I did a ten mile walk from my house to her house, mostly on the fire road. We had to do about a mile of surface roads by her house, so we finished off in that direction, hoping Harper would be too tired to pull on her leash! It worked perfectly.

We spent a good deal of time figuring out how we would exchange cars. I drove to her house, she drove me back to my house, where we started walking. Then, I drove her back to my house to pick up her car. Simple? We forgot the little matter of the keys. She left her keys at my house, and I locked my purse in her house. With a little ingenuity and a ladder we were able to solve that problem. All was well that ended well! We were very proud of ourselves!

We did 10 miles averaging less than 16 minutes per mile! And this was NOT flat terrain! If you want to see the elevation changes, check it out at!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The New and Improved Ed

Ed doesn't a get a new suit too often, but he got a couple of them this weekend. He's still 20 pounds lighter than he was last year at this time, so he had them tailor the suits a little more. I think he looks very handsome. Now the trick will be to make sure he doesn't gain any weight so we don't have to go out and buy more new suits!

In Search of the Real Fire Road

Ed and I went walking again on Saturday to see where we went wrong on our last fire road walk. We took our trusty map, the dog and our GPS. It turns out the fire road on the Morgan Run side of the reservoir isn't  big enough for a jeep, let alone a fire truck! It's mostly a one lane foot path! We were on it all along, although we thought we were lost!

Walking over logs might be fun for a human, a dog or a horse, but it's hard to imagine doing fire control on paths like this!

And, to throw a dangerous element into the mix, the deer hunt is on! We ran into a couple of hunters with cross bows! I'll have to remember my reflector vest when I go walking next week!

Autoharp ReDo

I got an old, used autoharp several years ago. It is a little rusty, but sounds just fine. One of the problems I've had with it is it had  keys (chord bars) I don't use much and lacked keys I use a lot. I decided I really didn't need an F7, Bb or a Bm, and really needed an A, Em and Am. I also wanted to switch the position of several bars, from the front row to the back row and vise versa.

So, after looking up how to refelt an autoharp, I launched into the job on Friday. Imagine my shock when I took the bars off and 30 tiny little springs sprang all over my kitchen! I rounded them up and wondered, "How am I going to get this thing back together!"

Cutting the felt was a remarkably smooth exercise. I mapped out my new configuration and had everything just the way I wanted it.

Then I asked Ed to help me reassemble it. He came up with a clever way to get each spring in, but we had to do the bars upside down. We carefully turned them over (without loosing a single one) and screwed it back together before anything could go wrong. And, believe it or not, it works perfectly! It was an interesting project with a very satisfying ending!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Web Star

Is it Halloween or Christmas? I just can't decide. I went outside to take a picture of a dew-laden spider web this morning, and didn't even realize there was a web right on the point of the tree--just as pretty as a Christmas star!

It's that happy time of year where all the spiders are out in force. Nonetheless, Suzanne and I (with the dogs) launched into the woods for a great 6 mile walk this morning. We may have picked up a few webs along the way, but fortunately, the dew helped us spot quite a few of them before they hit our faces!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Festival

Yesterday was the Fourth Annual Eldersburg Ward Fall Festival. Although we've done this 3 times before, this was the first time we hosted it at our house. If I hadn't been so busy I would have taken a ton of pictures! The highlight of the evening was the hayride taken through Miss Carol's farm. Kay (and Coda, in this case) helped Lenny as he drove kids and adults around the farm loop and into the pasture past the horses. Lenny kidded around and made the kids sing with him. Kay gave them a little narration as they went around. Miss Carol hosted a home tour for those that wanted to see the old farmhouse. Thank heavens the sister missionaries were there to help her with the crowds!

We had 27 crocks of chili, and twice that many pies--enough to feed the multitudes that showed up. We couldn't really get a head count as they moved around too quickly, but it was somewhere between 250 and 300! We're lucky to have three elders in our ward as well as sister missionaries. The elders parked cars and carried crock pots down the driveway!

Lenny took a picture of the crowd with his cell phone. He said if we looked carefully we could try to count heads. But this doesn't count the people playing bean bag, ring toss, soccer or Frisbee golf! (Not to mention a half a dozen under the parachute!)

The bishopric did their secret judging in the basement while people started feasting. I didn't have to slip them anything and still won fourth place for my chili, which I named "Swine Fever," as it had three different kinds of pig meat! I was very proud!

The Pearl Strings played two farm songs, both titled, Down on the Farm, as well as Country Roads. The Big Bush Basement Band did Puff the Magic Dragon, and the activity day girls (I wish I had a picture!) did Michael Row the Boat Ashore and He's Got the Whole World in His Hands! 

We were also lucky to have a trio perform the Clarinet Polka. Ed did a great job emceeing, as did Marsha Searle in leading the dancing.

The highlight of the evening was select ward members dancing to Old MacDonald Had a Farm. We had some incredible dancers dressed as animals. Ellen Trusty capped it all off by coming in as the farmer's wife, twirling a fire baton! It was incredible!

From what we've heard, the party was a roaring success. Ed and I were pooped by the time the day was over. Sadly, Ed threw his back out right after we finished cleaning up. He picked up one last pumpkin and never stood up straight again.

Lenny had a great time pulling the tractor and said, "We're doing this again next year, aren't we?" Ed said,"We'll never do this again!" We'll wait and see if he softens his tune next year!

Last Day of Shave Ice

Friday was our last chance to hit our favorite Shave Ice stand, and we were glad to take a break from party preparations to sneak over for one last snow shake. We got our favorites--grape for Ed and peaches and cream for me! We even splurged and got the large size, so the memories of summer will linger long on our lips!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Noodle Ball

The activity day girls tried out a new game for me yesterday. I bought some pool noodles and a beach ball. The goal was to get the ball through the opposite team's goal posts. We had mixed results. While neither team scored it appeared they had a good time whacking with the noodles.  I guess we'll go ahead and use it at the Fall Festival on Saturday. It seemed safe enough with young girls, but I wonder if the noodles will survive teenage boys!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Big Bush Basement Band Gets Bigger

The Big Bush Basement Band (my teenager band) added two new members on Saturday. Nadi and Katie wanted to do Puff the Magic Dragon for the Fall Festival this week, which was great, but it changes chords a lot. It was okay for Alex, as he already knows his chords. Anna did a great job, even though she had never played banjo before. We're hoping with a little practice this week we'll be ready for this weekend!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lost in the Woods

Ed took the day off today and we decided to go for a little walk, exploring a portion of the fire trail we had not yet walked. We parked the car along Route 32 and turned west into the woods. We started out confident and happy. Coda took the lead and Ed got a nice stick to knock down spider webs. We had a map and a GPS with us, neither of which kept of from taking several wrong turns. Our little walk ended up lasting 4 hours!

We climbed over and under fallen trees...

...through the briars and thistles by an electrical clear cut...

...through tall grasses and between pretty yellow flowers...

 ... skirted the edges of a soybean field..

...and crossed several creeks without getting our feet wet. We finally we had to break down and take our shoes off!

We took a wrong turn in at least three places, and had to backtrack a good deal. We came out on London Bridge Road where it crosses Morgan Run. Then we had to plunge back into the woods.

We were still smiling here, not realizing that we were not out of the woods yet. We were not even half done! We used Map My Walk to document our walk, but were gone so long that the cell phone ran out of battery! I saved the route at 7.44 miles (, and then we continued to walk another mile before we reached the car (parked on Irving Ruby Road)! I told Ed we'd have to walk that route more efficiently next time. He told me there will be NO next time!

A Visit with Hobie and Sheila

Yesterday I drove Miss Carol and her sister Alice to visit friends in Virginia. They live in an old farm house on 100 acres in the town of Boyce, about a half mile further down the road from Harper's Ferry.

They are very interesting people. Hobie's grandfather was a well known artist, William Lathrop. He had several of his paintings in the house. This one was entitled "Late Summer" and reminds me so much of the countryside we drove through. It is quite beautiful this time of year.

We had lunch under the gazebo in the back yard. Miss Carol and Alice used to ride horses around Finksburg with Sheila (on the right) and her sister Jean when they were girls. Their friendship goes back a long ways!

For a special treat we brought Miss Carol's pug dogs down with us. Along with Hobie and Sheila's English setter, Charlie (the third), that makes a lot of dogs!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy Walkers, Happy Dogs!

What a great day for a walk! Suzanne and I started walking a year ago, and we had fun reminiscing today on everything that has happened in the last 12 months. We have learned how to not get lost in the woods, and know our way around a little better. However, as we expand our horizons, there is always a new perspective (and a new way to get lost). We did 7 miles today, but only got credit for 6.72 on Mapmywalk. I have a hard time getting the GPS to connect when we first start. Look how happy Harper is in the picture--and that was AFTER the hike!

If you want to see our splits, check out the link at Some of the longer splits where we had to stop and put the dogs off or on leash. Oh, and did I mention Coda went walkabout again? I had to leash her up the rest of the way home!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Walking to Guitar Lessons

It's nice to be back to normal again, and walking to my guitar lesson on Tuesdays. (See guitar behind my head!) Today we did 5 forms of scales with their accompanying chords. We also did Joy to the World (the bullfrog one, not the Chrismas song). My teacher, Frank, thinks I'm brilliant because I'm analytical like he is. Fortunately for me, he is even brillianter, so I learn a lot each time I go. If I had just started this 40 years ago I might have had a future in rock and roll!

Trip Down Memory Lane

We decided to take the Mini out yesterday on a trip down memory lane. Ed had fond memories of stopping at Roadside America with his family. It looks like it has seen better days! But despite missing several letters on the sign, was still open for our viewing pleasure!

It is a giant model train set with buildings and settings of small towns across America. I realized we had actually stopped there on a family road trip of our own--in 1987! I don't know if Brittany was old enough to remember it. It hasn't changed much. Happily, most of the buttons worked, and we were able to take turns making the extra trams and people move!

On the way home we stopped in Intercourse Pennsylvania for a tour of the Amish Country. We took a little bus trip around the area and enjoyed learning a lot about the Amish and the Mennonites. We also enjoyed sampling some of the food!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How I Spent My Saturday

Ed and I started our day out by cleaning the church. The nice thing about this ward is that the church is so small it can actually be cleaned in an hour if enough people show up. We were on vacuuming duty yesterday.

After that we dropped by the doctor's office to see if I had conjunctivitis. I had decided (through reading on the internet) that an infection had to be causing the blurring of my contact lenses. I've been suffering for 2 months now. Sure enough, the doctor said I had pink eye, gave me some ointment and told me not to wear my contacts till the treatment is done. It is a pain wearing glasses, but I'm cautiously optimistic that soon I'll finally be able to see well again!

The Work Goes On!

Our contractors finished the concrete floor of our shed while we were in China. They've now finished the half walls and are almost ready to wall in the shed. You can't see half the work, in the picture because all the drainage pipes are buried.

We were happy they were able to dig down to the level of the patio, as it will make the ceiling nice and high. We're hoping to have it all done in 2 weeks in time for the ward party we're hosting on the 14th of September. Any bets they won't make it?