Sunday Chat – Spring, a Drive, and the Garden

In spite of the very hard freeze we got two nights last week, it seems that spring is coming anyway. Out front, our redbud tree is beginning to show its lovely purple/pink buds. We had to cut several limbs off it last year, so I am hoping it will look nice still this year. I anticipate that it won’t be as full with the two large branches gone, but still will have some pretty color.

It was a cool day last weekend when we gathered in Brevard with our MINI club for a drive and lunch. My Sweet Babboo and I were leading the drive. He planned the route, and I navigate and keep the group informed with the radio as we go.

It was a small group for the first run of the season with only 7 MINIs, but we had a fun day.

Starting out in the valley, we drove past numerous farms and pastures, with mountains in the background.

Early on, I tried to get a photo of the cars on the road. When you are the lead car, the only chance is a side view mirror shot. The curve in the road has to be just right as well.

These maple trees have a rust color flower, that almost looks like the fall season instead of spring. This pastoral scene is beautiful, with rolling green pastures and a mountain in the distance. The little red dragon on the photo is on our windshield, a souvenir of one of our Tail of the Dragon runs.

On we went, enjoying a scenic drive, beautiful in its own way with the evergreen pines providing color before the deciduous trees are leafed out.

We made a stop for a good photo op at Holmes State Forest. We took turns taking photos, and a friend did one with my camera so I could be in a shot for a change. I was wearing my quilted jacket, and I had the hat on earlier during the gathering time. I had the purse with me too. It is fun to be able to wear it before the season ends.

And then we were off again, to climb Jeter Mountain road.

More pastoral scenes along the way. There were barn quilt blocks on the sides of two barns along the route, and I missed both of them. One of these days I’ll go back and get a few shots of those.

This farm had cows too. It was apparently lunch time for them.

We led the group up to the top of the mountain, then back down again on twisty roads with lovely views.

Heading back down the other side, the road gets steep again. All that green on the left side of the road are wild rhododendrons. They should bloom in late April or early May.

As we came back to the valley, I tried one more shot to see most of us in the mirror. Five of us are close, then the sixth is visible down from the left end of the barn as the road curves around. The last one is just out of photo view. We pause at every stop sign to make sure we are all together before moving on.

We went to lunch at a great Mexican food restaurant in Laurel Park called Sol Y Luna, then everyone made their own way home. Arriving home, I found someone else that thought he needed to be fed.

The bird feeder needed refilling, so My Sweet Babboo took care of that. The rest of the week we had a steady stream of visitors to share the bounty, mostly local residents, but a few migrating ones. Here, a chickadee gets a beak-full of suet cake.

The nuthatch likes it too, but he tends to hang upside down to eat. This is by nature’s design, so he can get the bugs hiding behind the top of a bit of bark on a tree, while the other birds eat the bugs on the bottom edge as they look up.

Three big crows came for a visit, pecking at the ground around the pole. They stayed quite a while, then moved on, vocalizing with their harsh caw-caw-caw.

Wednesday, a flock of robins descended on the meadow, about 2 dozen of them. They didn’t stay long. I only got a photo of one, eyeing the ground around the feeder pole. They dug in the hosta beds for bugs.

Back on the yet again newly filled feeder, a titmouse gets his share.

Then the colony of year round resident goldfinches had their turn. There are about a dozen of them, now changing over to their summer colors of bright yellow.

A female downy woodpecker stopped by. I’ve seen a male several times, so I think we have a pair.

Then, a really exciting thing happened! I was observing the bluebirds on the feeder, and taking a few photos. This male was taking advantage of the bounty.

Then, I saw his mate, fly across the yard, and go into the birdhouse! I am excited, as she went in and out several times, and appears to be building a nest.

In the garden, the tulips are preparing to bloom.

In the kitchen, I made a new dish for us this week. It is Thai rice noodles, with stir fry pork, spinach and mushrooms. The sauce is a glaze made with fish sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar, that I really liked, but My Sweet Babboo said he didn’t like the aroma. He ate his bowl and said it tasted good, but I don’t think I’ll make it for him again. I’ll save the fish sauce for just me.

In the sewing room, no progress on much this week. I still need to get a marker to play with the practice piece, and I have some new rulers on order. I cannot stand on my feet for extended times right now anyway from the shots in my knees. I am limited to less than an hour for 48 hours past the injection, which knocks out two days each week. But I already see some improvement in the pain level, and my ability to walk. These are not steroids, they are gel injections to rebuild some of the cushioning that I’ve lost to arthritis, and wear from playing pickleball for the past two years. My orthopedist says I may be able to get back to pickleball, but for now it is stationary bike and other exercises that do not stress the knees with weight bearing forces. I have two more rounds of injections, next Wednesday and the Wednesday after that. Given the success of the first round, I have high hopes for the treatment. Next week is our local quilt guild’s sleep-at-home retreat, and I cannot wait. I have some things cut to play with, but no real plan. Improv time!

What have you been doing this week? Any special plans for the coming week?

28 thoughts on “Sunday Chat – Spring, a Drive, and the Garden

  1. k


    Good morning.

    I wanted to thank you for the lesson I learned from you about the Tail of the Dragon. I never would have known that it existed if I had not followed you.

    My daughter is a Junior and she is on spring break. We decided to take a long weekend to celebrate and to visit some National Parks. She has a passport and wanted to get stamped at some point. We are from Missouri and travelled from Clarksville Tennessee yesterday on route to the Smoky Mountain NP. I let her navigate yesterday, thinking that it would be easy. NOPE! She took us the Southern route and we ended up at the Tail of the Dragon. I did say “what did you get us into?” We looked at each other and said let’s do it. We saw some beautiful sports cars along the route and had a good experience. It was fun to see the beautiful scenery and all the turns!

    I’m glad that we went that way it was a pleasant surprise. But I have started calling her Gilligan, as our short trip turned into a “three hour tour.”

    Love your posts, btw.



  2. Your springtime drive looked like so much fun, Carole. Oh, to live in the south! Here is Wisconsin, we got 10″ -12″ of new snow yesterday. So we are still in winter mode. My week will be taken up with a scrapbooking retreat beginning Wednesday and running through the weekend. My focus this time is…UFOs! Yes, I have those in scrapbooking also. I have several years of Christmas pages to complete and I want to finish a travel book from a family vacation in summer of 2019. Anything crossed off the UFO list, sewing or otherwise, is a GOOD, GOOD thing! Enjoy your sewing retreat! I’ll be back to sewing next week.

  3. Rheanna M

    Looks like you had a really enjoyable drive. All the green is so up-lifting. I was able to tie and bind a baby quilt this week, and have made slow progress on my quilt for a friend and the Oh my Stars quilt. I have a sleep at home retreat this weekend too so hoping to get a lot of sewing done then. Glad to hear the shots are helping.

  4. That was a great spring drive, but the possible bluebird family is so exciting! I’m happy to hear your knee treatment is providing some relief for you. This week was resting after the chaos of the past month. My big news is that Grandma Necchi is home from the spa, and sewing splendidly. I made a pillow case yesterday, and have started a flannel shirt…it has milk cows all over it!

  5. Glad to read the knee is feeling better. Our joints are so important and we take advantage of them for too many years! It’s nice to see so much spring appearing there. We are still experiencing too much winter weather for my liking. The mini drive sounds like a fun outing.

  6. Good morning Carole,
    I love Redbuds-nice shot of yours! We have Bluebirds back at our birdhouse as well. My husband had to add more to the hole as a woodpecker had made it larger and Crackles were trying to nest-I actually saw both male and female Bluebirds dive bomb the Crackle as it was trying to get into their house. Unfortunately the Bluebirds were unable to discourage the Crackle but my hubby kicked it out.
    I went through Gel shots for my left knee as well and they did help. In the end I decided that it would be better to have a total knee replacement vs. more shots. I really wanted to put it off for as long as I could but felt that I’d be better off while I still had some strength in the muscles. Glad I did it. Best of luck to you!!

  7. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    So glad to hear your first injections are having a good effect on your knees! The drive looked fun and so scenic. It much greener on your side of the country than here in the mountain west yet! Love your bird photos, as always. The nuthatches are one of our favorite birds to see on the suet feeder – the upside down way that they eat and move is fun to watch!

  8. the drive looks lovely! we used to take drives like that all the time and so enjoyed them. I’m glad to hear the knee injections seem to be working and I hope the next 2 make it much better!

  9. Brenda Travis

    You are so busy and give us such great updates on the birds and critters. I live vicariously thru you. Love it !!

    1. I’m so sorry, but since my husband didn’t like it, I didn’t save it. I found it online somewhere, and now I cannot find it again. I made a lot of substitutions, leaving out some veggies and substituting spinach in, substituting rice noodles for the ones called for, and really only using the sauce ingredients in the proportions given. It had fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and some other things.

  10. Rita C.

    Happy you have bluebirds nesting! This past week has been all about visiting family in hospital, skilled facility care, and visiting friends and relatives passing through. Oh, and March madness! Have a great new week. I’m going to gather some garden supplies at Lowes today, I think, and plan my work on small amendments in the yard.

  11. Julie

    Thanks for another lovely drive through the mountains – greening up nicely. Nesting bluebirds! We had our first Robin drop by, and the grass is looking green, otherwise still bare trees for another month, but the spring bulbs will bloom soon. The weather was fine enough this week to rake the beds.

  12. You had a lot going on last week. Fun reading! My Danish daughter is coming this week, so I’ll be working hard to be ready for the whirlwind. We always have marvelous visiting times.

  13. June Neigum

    Hoping the apple trees did not get as damaged as expected from the freezes. Look forward to local grown apples every year. I don’t think we have turned the corner as I have not seen the blackberries blooming which usually means one last cold snap for us here in the piedmont of NC. Always look forward to all your visitors especially the squirrels.

    1. You may have been down on numbers for your drive, but I’m sure you all had a lovely time, driving through glorious country scenery and a nice lunch stop. I do so enjoy seeing your bird photos, they are so different to what we have here in New Zealand.

  14. Joan Sheppard

    Love all the birds and how they almost pose for you! Glad one is using the birdhouse! I was going to make a barn quilt for my daughter as a surprise and asked for her 3 favorite colors and she sent 3 shades of navy, lapiz and greige. So I gave her a gift card! Finishing up a dozen tote bags for a fundraiser that will be filled with dog treats. Thanks for the tour! Love “traveling” with you and you look stunning in that jacket!

  15. lois92346

    What a FUN drive that was! The scenery takes my breath away. My favorite photo was that of the goldfinches. Your tulips are going to be lovely. Wish I could visit your area.

  16. Mary

    As always I love to come driving with you. Such lovely countryside.
    And the Bluebirds coming to nest at your place too!!
    Nice to see the ‘goings-on’ in your garden. It’s good to have nature so close as well.
    Hope the knee treatment is successful. I’ve had 2 knee replacements and always set the alarms off at the airport!! :))
    Have a happy retreat and get loads done……… as well as a good chat! :))

  17. Your photos are eye candy! That picture of the bluebird peeking its head out of the house is priceless! Good luck with your upcoming knee treatments. I heard gel shots are like shock absorbers and many find pain relief from them. Hope you have the best possible outcome!

  18. manasotavacation

    Thanks for the lovely ride and the delightful photos of the birds!! I’ve been tied up with a friend who is ill and needs a lot of assistance, so I’m behind in EVERY SINGLE thing. I hope the gel works well for you! I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do at the workshop , but am going to try to get there!

  19. Sue H

    I’m happy for you that the injections seem to be working. I never heard of gel injections but getting back to your longarm and playing pickleball will be back to normal. We all like “normal”. Your drive looked very nice and the mountains are always so pretty. Your Thai noodle dish sounded delicious. Sorry SB didn’t like the smell. That’s OK, there’s plenty of new dishes to try, right?

  20. Dasha

    I love the variety of birds that visit your yard, and the way you manage to get a good photo of them. We have a lot of birds, but not the variety you do. I was outside today in the garden, and our magpie pair were hovering around waiting to see what I turned up. They absolutely know us and trust us enough to be very close by. Love it!

  21. It’s such a joy seeing spring pop in your world! Oh, that redbud! And the journey looks such fun with all your mini pals! I’m glad the injections are beginning to offer some relief. One step at a time, as they say!

  22. I always enjoy your car club rides, they sound like so much fun, and your area is such a beautiful place to drive around and explore. I always enjoy your bird captures too, so many pretty feathered friends!

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