But! I decided to take time out of our busy hot dog/movie watching/yarn related adventures to write this morning, so you wouldn't send out the National Guard because you assumed we had fallen into a sinkhole or something.
First of all, we had a nice 4th of July. The town we live in currently, Mars Hill, is tiny and had a darling little celebration at the recreation park, complete with live bluegrass music, the VFW raffling off exciting prizes (gas cans! hair cuts!) and even sack races.
(That's one of Noel's daughters in the turquoise scarf).
They ended the night with an impressive fireworks display, and all-in-all we felt like this was the little slice of Americana that Martha Stewart would love to organize, except the prizes would evolve into organic mushroom farming equipment and antique handmade tobacco baskets. Much less useful than a gas can, I must admit.
We also paid a visit to Marshall, a very small town near Mars Hill (got them straight?) for Friday night bluegrass and dancin'. The kids weren't quite sure what to think at first, so Noel and I got up and cut a rug (and even were applauded!). After that, there was no holding them back (except for Noel's son, who isn't the dancing type, I suppose). The girls had a great time, and even got my mom up there dancing. Here's Noel and Katie:
They had a blast. We were told we simply must come back another time, and we agreed. There was an 82 year old woman sitting beside me who told me we had good dance moves, and I looked down to see that she was wearing tap shoes (used for clogging here, since they make noise). We thought it was fantastic when she got up and danced too. At 82! I hope I have that kind of energy at 72!!
The other 2 kids went back to Virginia last weekend, but Katie opted to stay for another few weeks. She's busy, you see, learning all kinds of handy skills here, like sewing:
(She's making a dress and it's almost finished!). She's also learning to crochet, and she's been a great help in the garden, which is growing very nicely:
We have blooms on our cucumbers and a ton of them on our cantaloupes! And we have baby tomatoes, and impressive basil, and the okra is coming along slowly but surely. It would help if we could get some rain. As it stands, we've been having to water every week, and Katie's been jumping up to help with that. She's embraced the garden with gusto. Literally:
Katie *hearts* dirt. :)
She couldn't go into the house this way though, so Noel rinsed her off. Did I mention we have well water that comes out of the tap cold enough to drink? Heh.
We have a barn (yes, we really do). It's small and dilapidated, but we do have a barn next to our house. And just to add an extra touch of authenticity to it all, a family of stray cats moved into the barn. But they weren't content to live IN the barn. Oh no, they decided that they'd also annex the porch of the house. It was a mom and 4 kittens, although we think one of the kittens didn't make it because it disappeared one day. Very sad. The mom appears to be a manx, because she has no tail. 2 of the kittens also were black & white with no tails, and the other 2 were fuzzy with tails.
Anyway, I just couldn't interrupt them while they were nursing, but afterwards, we started spritzing them with water to keep them off the porch.
I know what you're thinking: But Kelli, you are a cat LOVER. You have 2 cats that are spoiled beyond belief! To wit:
However, it is in part because of these spoiled black kitties that rule the household that we needed to encourage the strays to move on. See, strays have potentially lots of disease problems, fleas, etc. and we don't want those things passed on to our kitties. So as mean at it might sound, we tried to get them to move on. Which they did, after only 2 days of spritzing with the water bottle when they came on the porch. This is much better than the alternatives that are sometimes employed, which I won't get into because they're cruel. At least they can live out their kitty lives in the wild, hunting bugs and mice and sunning themselves. :)
Also, the mom would try to come in the house when we opened the front door. Also, Noel was afraid if I had to stare at those darling little kittens much longer, I would be naming them and taking them to the vet for shots, and then it would be all over.
In other Country Living news, we have squash that was given to us by various sources. Apparently everyone we know is having a bumper crop of squash this year, and we have thus far reaped the benefits. However, I had no idea really what to DO with squash that didn't require breading and frying each individual slice of one. Our landlord came to the rescue with a recipe for Squash Fritters!
They are so healthy.