Good Year

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Good Year

The past couple of years have been very challenging and frankly, scary for this Bartlett family; things are never boring at our house. The situations we have faced have challenged us emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially… ok, in every way possible. But it all seems to be turning out ok.

Steven and I are on the way to Lynchburg, VA to our daughter Genette and bonus son Abe's house. As we were driving along Steven got my attention by saying, "blimp!" I looked up and there was the Good Year blimp resting in the sky.

Seeing the blimp served as an encouraging reminder – through it all it has been a good year. Bryon is in remission and will be marrying the adorable Amber in November, Carmen continues on life adventures, and Steven, Abe, and I have all recovered well from our surgeries, Steven also has some leads on a new job, Genette is pregnant, and we are on the way to Lynchburg to attend the gender reveal party for our first grandchild due to arrive at the end of November.

Yep, that's our story and we are sticking to it – it's been a Good Year.

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The Burial in New York

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The Burial in New York

Steven, our daughter, Genette, and I took a very quick trip to upstate New York for the burial of Steven's father this past weekend. William died in April and although we went up to be with Steven’s mother during that time we were not able to have the burial. This is not unusual for the north during the winter when the ground is frozen – digging the grave is difficult to impossible. Genette's husband Abe was not able to make it because of his job, so Steven and I drove to her house near Lynchburg, VA, spent the night, and we left together Friday morning to head for New York.

We got on the road about 7:30 am. According to the Garmin that would have put us in Albany, New York around dinner time. However, we had been on the road for about an hour when our forward motion was slowed down to the rate of 3 miles per hour for about 30 minutes. Then we saw it: a tour bus had broken down and was causing the delay in traffic. Once we got past the tour bus we were cruised along again until we hit another traffic jam: construction. We knew we would hit that somewhere along the route.

Back on our way and doing well for a couple of hours, we stopped for a break and some food. We climbed back in the van and ... wait for it ... the van would not start. Someone tried to give us a jump but it didn’t work. We called AAA and waited an hour before the wrong assistance truck arrived. After another 45 minutes, the correct truck arrived, and in 30 minutes more a new (expensive) battery was installed and we were once again on the road. We arrived at our hotel in Albany around 10:30 pm, tired sweaty, and ready for sleep.

Saturday morning we drove a couple of hours to Chestertown, NY for the graveside service and our final good-bye to Steven's father. The weather was warm, but the shade from a maple tree and a gentle breeze made the temperature perfect. The sky was dressed in pale blue with white clouds forming still life images.

After the ceremony, family and friends gathered at the local fire house for conversation and stories: a simple day as was proper. Another 2 hour drive and we were back to the hotel at about 11pm.

Sunday morning we set our alarm for 5:15 am and we drove to Kearneysville, WV to my niece's house for the night. As I write this it is Monday morning and we are on the way back to VA to drop off Genette. Steven and I will continue on to Charlotte, NC, so we can sleep in our own bed after a 2000 mile journey, 3 beds, and 5 days. The trip back has been smooth and we've had no traffic jams ... WHAT?!!

Oh wait, the Garmin just said there are delays ahead (Sigh)…

Well, I suppose it'll be another story to tell.



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Reclaim, Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse:  A Place for my Instruments

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Reclaim, Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse:  A Place for my Instruments

I started my blog this morning about Reclaim, Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse and then thought, “this could make a good series.”  I truly believe that too many things are thrown in the landfill that could be reused in some way.  Being a storyteller I really love the stories and ideas that come from repurposed items. It is a resurrection in a way; new life, new purpose, new reason.

In the series I’ll take some pictures and show you some of the projects that I’ve worked on and some that are still in process.  I am not sure I will blog about this every week but certainly once a month (I need to put that on my calendar to remember).

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Here is the project for today:

I have many instruments – flutes, guitars, percussion and some others. They were being held in a very large black plastic container, not attractive in the least. I wanted something cute to store them and keep them accessible and organized.  Each time I went to a thrift store I looked at cabinets that I could use but nothing seemed quite right.

Then one day my husband and I went into a GW Boutique (Goodwill store) and shining rays illuminated around this piece of furniture, the sirens sang and drew me in closer. My eyes beheld the splendor of a…wait for it… rack for golf bags.

It was very dusty, dirty, and in need of a seriously good cleaning but I knew it would get my instruments out of the plastic container and could also be a nice addition to my home. There was a place for my guitars, a shelf for my flutes on the bottom, and extra space for my frame drum. There were drawers to hold tuners, extra strings, and guitar straps. I LOVED it!! So for $20 and a couple hours of elbow grease I ended up with a wonderful station for my instruments.

I am considering painting it and putting casters on the bottom so it rolls but for now it works just fine.  This golf rack has a new life and a new purpose. I love it and it works perfectly for my instruments.

What has a new purpose or a new story in your home?

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Pickle Worms: A Raised Bed Update

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Pickle Worms: A Raised Bed Update

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Remember those easy raised beds I told you about on May 8, 2019?

I posted a picture of the new cucumber plants I had put in them.

Well, they’ve grown!

I’ve been harvesting some great cucumbers, until recently. I was harvesting when I noticed some tiny holes in them – there are pickle worms in my cucumbers!

The battle has begun; I am fighting for my cucumbers.

My first line of defense is Diatomaceous Earth (fossilized remains of microalgae found in oceans and waters) it is organic, and I’m hoping that it will help.

Only time will tell.

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This week I’ve started a third raised bed. I am putting some purple tomatoes in that one. Yes, purple tomatoes. I am really looking forward to those.

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I also posted a picture of a second pallet raised bed I was building; I planted beefsteak tomatoes in there. They are looking pretty good. I have a couple of green tomatoes hanging from the vines and several flowers. Yay!! I can’t wait for some fresh tomato sandwiches!! I’ll be putting a cage over them soon to try to keep the animals away.

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I realize that putting plants in the ground means that I will likely have some challenges. There will always be bugs to battle, animals that try to take the fruit, the plants have to be watered and weeded, and it all takes time.

Still, I love to watch things grow so I’ll continue to fight my battles.

Sometimes I’ll win, sometimes I won’t, and sometimes I’ll abandon the whole thing . But for sure, I’ll keep on keeping on.

How about you, you got any pickle worms in your life?

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Clothing I Pine For

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Clothing I Pine For

Oops, I closed my eyes for 20 minutes and an hour and a half later ...

For 3 years I’ve been working on a story about the White Spruce Pine Trees on the farm where I grew up. It’s a true story and I am excited to tell it, but it is still not quite finished. I feel like it is so very close but just not quite there yet. I even bought a dulcimer guitar made out of spruce to use in the story. As I’ve worked on the pine story getting it ready for the stage I thought it would be a good thing to have something special to wear as I tell it.

I sew, so Steven and I went to Joann Fabric to find material with pine trees on it that I could use to make an article of clothing. Sure enough, we found some great fabric! I got a couple of different prints so I’ll be able to make a few different things. I am thinking a shirt and a simple dress, but I haven’t found the patterns I want to use yet.

As I sit here I think, I am pining for these clothing items. Perhaps my finished story is waiting for the dress or shirt to arrive. It’s a process: I have the story but it is not finished – I have the fabric but no pattern.

I think by the end of the year they will both come together. I’ll let you know when I get the sewing and the story done. In the meantime here’s a picture of the fabric I bought.

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