Easter week at Lake Gaston

We had a family trip away for Easter week, but were disappointed with the cool damp weather which hampered recreation plans! My daughters booked a “VRBO” (Vacation Rental By Owner) again on Lake Gaston NC. This year we were on the North side of the lake. The house was spacious, 3 levels of living / bedroom space, and plenty of room for 11 people. We had a great location to sit and ponder the water views. The first two days and the last couple of days we could sit out on the dock and enjoy the water views.

I did enjoy wandering around the yard and admiring the plants. The blooming azaleas were at their peak.

NC Azeleas
Enjoying the garden
I loved seeing everything in bloom

Like last year, we brought our bicycles along. This year, just the hubby and I went out for a ride one afternoon, on the Tobacco Heritage Trail. We went to La Crosse VA where we had been once before and rode about 3.25 miles round trip. Neither of us had been on our bikes since last fall, so a short trip was all the old geezers could manage.

La Crosse bike trail
La Crosse VA at the Tobacco Heritage Trail

On the worst of the rainy days, we ventured to South Hill Virginia and visited a model railroad display at

South Hill Chamber of Commerce
Detailed model railroad display in South Hill
Very detailed display showing the history of the town

The chamber and HO train display were in the old train depot in downtown South Hill. It was fairly obvious to us that a lot of time and effort had gone into the display, and was well funded. It’s worth a stop if you are traveling in the area, and you have a rainy day to contend with. Our other stop that day was to Rosemont of Virginia Winery. We were pleased they could accommodate us without a reservation on that very rainy day. If you are planning a visit, I would recommend making that reservation.

Wine bar at Rosemont of Virginia
beautiful wine bar

There were high top tables and comfortable seating in the bar area, and a couple of other rooms that were filled with small groups.

Comfortable seating for the hubby
The Dry Side Flight
The dry side flight

Food for snacking was available, but we had just come from lunch in South Hill. The flight prices are on the website. I found it to be very reasonably priced, and the wine (all 4) were lovely. I brought a bottle back to our VRBO to enjoy as well.

As a side note; our VRBO was well off the beaten path, so lots of side roads were traveled going to and from the lake. We passed this place twice, and I was ready with the camera the second time. I always love interesting “roof decor”. Since we were on a back road, I asked the hubby to “slow down” a minute so I could shoot a photo. No shooting of animals of course!

rooftop decor
Roof top decoration makes me laugh

This year, I chose to not bring my featherweight sewing machine. There really wasn’t anyplace that I could comfortably set up and not be in the way, so I am glad I left it at home. I did bring my English paper piecing, also known as the never ending project. I have things kitted up and ready to travel and I managed to sit & stitch one double diamond. Even with this project, there really was no good place to work. The one room with good lighting, a quiet sitting room at the entry of the house, only had two comfortable chairs, and were often in use by others. So once I finished my little project, I packed my sewing bag away. I will be working on these double diamonds for a few more years if I am going to get a quilt made. I probably have about 30 or so done and need close to 100 for a queen size quilt.

Finished a double diamond
English Paper piecing 1″ hexi’s

When the weather cooperated, we did enjoy the view from the deck and the dock.

Enjoying the view
dockside view
lots of nice loungers on this dock

Springtime along the East Coast has been very cool overall, and wet. I’m looking forward to our next trip which will take us someplace much warmer! More about that later.

How did you spend April?

Summer fun and never ending projects

At our house, summer is always full of projects that will never end.  

Several years ago I spent the entire summer (it seemed) rebuilding a picket fence, sanding and staining fence pickets.  Thinking back it was BEFORE I retired, so that was more than 6 summers ago.  

Then there was/IS the porch swing that I sanded and repainted, the summer the garage was finished. (Again, before I retired).

Swing frame

 All of it, except the swing part.  I got distracted and the swing stands in the garage waiting.  Maybe next week!  If it ever quits raining! Oh, and those porch rails and pickets that I sanded and restained while the porch was being renovated…the top rails need some work again.  Seems as though it is always something that is less fun than sewing!

 The garden…well…it is overgrown with weeds and it is simply to darn hot and humid to get out in it to weed.

 The ONE nice day we had last weekend was consumed by a yard work task.  Hubby decided he wanted to tackle some of the overgrown stuff that had been neglected for 2 years.

SO, I left my sewing room, donned my gloves and pitched in.

 We tackled brambles, and vines, and wild cherry trees, and BAMBOO.  EVIL AWFUL TERRIBLE BAMBOO.  

Honestly, I would like to strangle the person who planted this crap decades ago.  On our property, we have wisteria, privet, trumpet vine, honeysuckle and bamboo. One would be problem enough, but all of these run and have to be constantly taken down, cut out, trimmed back or they overtake the property.  We have finally gotten the worst of the bamboo that ran along the property line under control when the neighbor started to work on “his side”.  There are the odd bits out front but they are not anything like they used to be and an afternoon of cutting eliminates them.

 Out back, well that is another story. Behind our garage we have a big open gravel area that we had cleared when the garage was built. Then we have woods. About an acre and 1/2 of woods behind the garages. The bamboo has overtaken part of the woods to the point I don’t think we can do anything about it.   We could cut everyday for the next month and not make a dent in it.  

Hubby had a nice bed of daylilies between the lawn and the back driveway that he enjoyed tending.  Then, it too filled with bamboo, (while I was sewing one day I think) and he was overwhelmed. We really know it got out of hand during the 3 years where his back just would not allow him to do much more than mow the lawn, and I was sewing!

So, this past Sunday afternoon, with my gloves on, he and I tackled that 4×15 foot bed cutting bamboo.  We spent 4 hours!  He was able to hold back the top of the stocks with the rake, while I worked with the big clippers cutting it off at the ground.  Can I explain how my legs still hurt 3 days later.  TOO much bending over at the waist!!  He would pile it up in his cart and take it to his “spot” in the woods where he piles brush. Nature takes care of the composting and over the years, our cuttings have made great beds for the rabbits and the deer that frequent our back acres.  Once all the cutting was finished, he uses his mulching mower and cuts away any stalks that stick out above the ground level, and mulches up all those “leaves” the bamboo has left behind.  He has been working hard at finding the big runners that have crossed under his gravel driveway, digging them out.  This little area we cleared doesn’t look like much, and he will spray it with ground clear for the next 2 years to kill off any other sprouts that might pop up.  Then, and only then will he try to plant some grass back in the spot, and hope the bamboo doesn’t return.  

EVIL Bamboo

Yes, those are pile of cut bamboo stacked up in the foreground, and in the background all that you see is mostly bamboo, mixed in with the hardwood trees.  We were hoping the tree canopy would prevent the bamboo from growing, but the bamboo just keeps getting taller and taller.  Some of those stalks are 30 foot or more high.  What a pain!

NOW you can see why I was happy to escape back upstairs to my sewing room in the rain on Monday!

Tuesday morning I took another long bike ride with my daughter and granddaughter. What a relief to escape the yard work! We got out early before the rain!  We biked from 9 until noon, a total of 6 miles, with stops at the nature center to see the fish and at the playground to let the littlest person run off some energy.  Much more fun than cutting bamboo.  Don’t think the back of my legs was ready for another 4 hours of work in the yard.  We have been bike riding now together 3 or 4 times, 6-8 miles each time.  Turns out, I really enjoy the diversion, the exercise and of course, the company.  Once a week has been our goal together.  Of course, she is working on me to invest in a newer, lighter weight, more efficient bike. This antique I ride was her older sisters bike all thru school, and she is having her 20th class reunion this year.  Maybe a 21st century bike is in order.  Pondering…..

Biking fun

When I came home, I saw the hubby was occupied writing an article for his model railroad club newsletter, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in my sewing room. I told him I was held captive in the garage by a rain shower!  (Good excuse for an 8 pm supper!)

Remember those placemats?  Well, I made MORE.  I got the 4 additional ones finished, and had my 12 I wanted.  And then, well…just kept sewing.  We are up to 18 now.  I am starting to think about how to back them.  Since these are totally scrap happy, I wonder if having a plain muslin back would make sense?  I have LOTS of muslin thanks to Dottie L. at church.  Going to consider that….while I prepare some “scraps of batting” for these.  I was happy to use some of the batik scraps my friend Nancy B saved out for me to give some more bright colors to the last 6.

More placemat fun

I still have 6 blocks left and miles of batik strips, so I am certain there are more to be made.  Maybe I will mix them all up, and dole them out in groups of 6 for gifts, and just keep the table runner for myself.  I really have had fun playing in the batiks.  (Much more fun than yardwork!)  Off to the sewing room…..shhh…don’t tell the hubby the sun is shining!

What are you doing for fun this summer???  Do you have some of those never ending tasks that you hate to work on??  How do you balance things?

EDIT to add some hashtags (because I just learned about them…)

#lifecycleDE #youcanridewithus #bicyclesforall